NFL Free Agency: Cleveland Browns’ Offense Received Major Upgrades

Aug 12, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; A Cleveland Browns helmet during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 17-11. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; A Cleveland Browns helmet during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 17-11. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

NFL free agency is here and the Cleveland Browns are making splashes left and right!

Yesterday when news of deals were being mentioned in the NFL free agency, none of those agreements were with the Cleveland Browns. A day later when teams could officially sign players made a big difference.

As a result, the view-point and opinion of the Browns’ front office took a 360 degree turn.

Cleveland needed to make some key moves and that is what they did. In fact, they have already made five impactful roster moves.

It all starts up front and that is where Cleveland focused on early and often. The Browns have a talented left guard in Joel Bitonio and they made sure he is sticking around. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Browns signed Bitonio to a five-year, $51 million extension.

Bitonio is recovering from injury but he is definitely worthy of this extension. When he is back to being healthy, Cleveland will have their left guard playing at a pro bowl level again. The left side is solidified even longer.

The contract terms are more suited for tackles, but Bitonio is one of the best at his position and extending his stay in Cleveland was very smart.

More moves along the offensive continued as the right guard has been solidified.

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Also according to Schefter, Cleveland will give Kevin Zeitler a five-year $60 million contract.

Zeitler was the best lineman on the market. Not only did Cleveland fill a key need, but they also did so by landing him from division and in-state rival, Cincinnati Bengals. Sure, the move is not the most glamorous, but it is going to pay dividends very soon, especially in the running game and  when winter hits.

Now Cleveland must be done along the offensive line right? Nope, not yet!

The Cameron Erving era at center is over. He could be their right tackle but that is to be determined.

According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, Cleveland agreed to a three-year deal with J.C. Tretter worth $16.75 million.

Had Cleveland not landed Zeitler, Tretter could have been their starting right guard. Luckily, they now have both and their line is quite impressive. With Joe Thomas (LT), Bitonio (LG), Tretter (C), Zeitler (RG), and TBD (RT), one word comes to mind: Wow! Cleveland now has the protection for any quarterback.

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The Browns’ offensive line is now in the discussion with the best in the NFL. In a snap, Cleveland’s offensive line can now be debated along with other great lines like the ones the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys have.

I am very glad such moves were made. I still hope they do something else with right tackle, but if they don’t I can live with whatever they decide to do there.

Holes were filled along the line but what about wide receiver? No, Terrelle Pryor did not re-sign (yet), but an addition was made.

Also according to Caplan, Cleveland should sign wide receiver Kenny Britt.

Following that announcement, more details on the deal were made known. According to NFL network’s Ian Rapoport, the contract is for four-years and $32.5 million.

Even with Britt in the fold, Pryor could still come back to Cleveland after he makes his rounds via the NFL free agency market. Still, I have my doubts.

That said, if Pryor was going to be a Brown in 2017, a deal would have been made by now. Britt and Pryor are similar players and the former is very likely a cheaper option. Adding Britt was a solid move, but another wide receiver would be nice to see too.

The most surprising move today by the Browns was via trade with the Houston Texans. Also according to Schefter, Cleveland acquired a 2018 second round pick, quarterback Brock Osweiler, and a 2017 sixth round pick for a 2017 fourth round pick.

Osweiler at one time had a promising future. Now, not so much. If he stays with Cleveland, fine, but hopefully he is dealt again or is released. Picks are being added every chance possible in Berea, Ohio and it only makes sense to add what you have to while focusing on the big picture (draft picks now and in the future).

The expectation was that something would be made and we would give it a double take. This was it. Cleveland acquiring another high pick means something big will happen; Perhaps something bigger than we all may consider possible. They already had a ton of picks but after today, the possibility of them trading for New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should increase.

Next: Reconsider Fandom If QB Goes First Overall?

It is an exciting time to be a Browns fan. VP of football operations Sashi Brown and company deserves credit and this is only the beginning of a culture and franchising-altering offseason.