The Browns 2022 roster has holes to fill, and wide receiver appears to be the biggest need. No one thinks the Browns are going to pay WR Jarvis Landry the last year of his contract of over $16 million. If Landry is cut, then the only experienced wide receivers on the roster are Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz and Ja’Marcus Bradley. This need can be filled in both free agency and the draft, but free agency provides the Browns the addition of an experienced veteran. In the last two years, GM Andrew Berry has addressed the largest team need in both the draft and free agency. In 2020, the Browns fixed the offensive line by signing RT Jack Conklin and drafting LT Jedrick Wills. In 2021 the team fixed the secondary by signing S John Johnson, III and drafting CB Greg Newsome, II. In free agency, Berry took advantage of the player’s former teams. With Conklin, the Titans had declined his fifth-year option prior to the season and were going to let him walk. In 2021, the Rams let three-fifths of their number one secondary go in free agency because they had younger less expensive players to replace those who departed. In free agency, find the right player in the right situation for the right price.
Will Berry go big and sign a big-name free agent wide receiver? He might. The names on this list are Allen Robinson (Bears), Chris Godwin (Tampa), Davante Adams (Packers), Will Fuller (Miami), JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pitt) and Mike Williams (Chargers). The Chargers, the Dolphins and the Bears have enough money under the salary cap to resign Williams, Fuller and Robinson if they want to resign. Tampa and Green Bay are close to or over the salary cap so Goodwin and Adams could be had for the right price. As for the Steelers, I think they’re tired Smith-Schuster and will gladly let him walk. Quarterback uncertainty and new head coaching hires could be the right situations for Adams, Robinson, Goodwin and Fuller to sign elsewhere.
The next level of wide receiver could center on a team’s cap situation. The Vikings are around $20 million over the cap and WR Dede Westbrooke could be available. The Cowboys are around $24 million over the cap which means both Cedrick Wilson and Michael Gallup might be free agents. What about a trade? Andrew Berry has made two player trades as Browns GM, both in 2020. FB Andy Janovich and S Ronnie Harrison. At the time both trades were for team needs. Currently, the Falcons are $13.3 million over the cap with an aging quarterback contract that’s a mess. If they traded WR Calvin Ridley, the Falcons would have cap savings of $11.1 million. The Browns have nine draft picks, and the Falcons could be in desperate need to clear space to resign WR Cordarrelle Paterson another Falcons free agent.
So, what are the numbers on these players? I can’t resist the numbers. The following are market values according to https://www.spotrac.com/ and https://overthecap.com/ not actual contracts. Market values can be obtained through contract length, guaranteed money and voidable years. Allan Robinson-$16.3 million average per year based on a four-year deal. Chris Godwin-$18.1 million average per year based on a five-year deal. Davante Adams-$25.8 million average per year based on a five-year deal. Will Fuller -$13.7 million average per year based on a four-year deal. JuJu Smith-Schuster -$11.1 million average per year based on a four-year deal. Mike Williams -$16.7 million average per year based on a four-year deal. As for the mid-level players. Cedrick Wilson -$6.4 million average per year based on a three-year deal. Michael Gallup – $11.8 average per year based on a four-year deal. Dede Westbrook -$4.5 million average per year based on a three-year deal. Calvin Ridley’s contract for 2022 is $11.1 million and it’s the last year.
Judging from the last two years, Andrew Berry has shown he will do whatever it takes to improve and stabilize areas on the Browns roster where there is need.
My opinion is he will go hard for a free agent wide receiver and draft one at number 13. Remember in free agency, find the right player in the right situation at the right price. Next week, interior defensive line.