In this position review article, we will talk about the offensive line. The Browns offensive line improved immensely during the season and the big question will be can they play at such a
The interior part of the line played at an almost perfect level. Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio, guard Kevin Zeitler and center J.C. Tretter gave up only 39 pressures over the course of the entire season. Bitonio, who is 27, signed a five year, $50 million contract extension in 2017 that does not expire until 2022. Zeitler has a similar contract to Bitonio as he also signed a five-year deal in 2017. Zeitler, who is a year older than Bitonio is getting $60 million over the course of his contract. As far as Tretter is concerned, he is signed through the 2019 season. Tretter played through some ankle issues this season and it will be definitely worth keeping an eye on in ’19. I expect all three of these guys to be back next year and possibly much longer.
Last year’s big free agent signing on the offensive line was right tackle Chris Hubbard, who came over from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hubbard struggled early in the year, especially in the opener against his former team, but started to stabilize the right tackle spot halfway through the season. He is signed through the 2022 season and it definitely does not pay for the Browns to get rid of him.
Left tackle was the spot on the offensive line with the biggest question mark going into last season. Undrafted free agent Desmond Harrison started the season there. He had good moments, but needs to improve on how he handles a bulrush and show that he can play at a high level on every play. As an undrafted free agent he signed a three year deal for $1.7 million and if he can improve he will be a financial steal for the Browns.
Taking over for Harrison at mid-season was Greg Robinson. Robinson was the 2nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams and hadn’t lived up to his potential. After not being retained by the Rams, Robinson had a short stint with the Detroit Lions before signing with the Browns in June. Robinson is a free agent but there are reports that the Browns and Robinson are trying to work out a deal for him to stay in Cleveland.
Next up is second-round pick
The final two players who were members of the 2018 Cleveland Browns are guard Earl Watford and guard/center Kyle Kalis. Both players were on the team simply for depth and thankfully the Browns did not need to use either of them outside of special teams play. Watford is a free agent and Kalis is signed for the 2019 season. I would be surprised if either are back as the Browns have signed a few players to futures contracts for 2019 and beyond.
While many Browns fans were enamored by OL coach Bob Wylie, it is no exaggeration to say that with James Campen, the new associate head coach/OL coach, the Browns have one of the best, if not “the best” offensive line coaches in the NFL.