The Cleveland Browns may not just draft or sign talent to fill holes. The team has made trades in the past to mixed results but should look to do so again.
The Cleveland Browns need to make moves to improve this team, and it shouldn’t be afraid to go back to the ol’ trade-well. Sure, the Browns have made many, many terrible trades in the past or worse, failed to capitalize off of the ones the team got right, but that doesn’t mean the team shouldn’t again make a play for specific players who aren’t free agents.
The team needs to improve both sides of their line, their secondary, their receiver corp and fill in gaps behind just about everyone else. Positions like tight end can be improved via the free-agent market or the draft. So looking to go get a tight end via trade isn’t necessary. Same with receivers. The team needs a slot receiver and a few backups. Even if Odell Beckham continues to diminish talent-wise, while being unable to stay healthy and even if Jarvis Landry’s hip becomes problematic or affects him long term; the team still has two viable starters and shouldn’t waste draft capital to improve those spots.
The price will obviously be important for all of these trades. If someone is asking for three first-round picks for 30-something linemen, you scoff and leave the negotiations. The team shouldn’t be afraid of maybe giving up a little more to get that right player though. It boggles the mind when you see people say “We gave up a 3rd rounder? I would’ve given them a 4th but not a 3rd!”
Why not? Do you really think a third-round pick is going to turn into a Hall of Famer? Draft picks are all about potential. They’re the mystery box of player evaluation. Everyone who grades draft prospects is just guessing.
Don’t ever forget that Mel Kiper once described Jamarcus Russell as a potential “top five” quarterback in the league eventually and that Russell had John Elway “like” skill. Don’t put more stock in draft picks than they deserve. If you can get a guaranteed player for three or five years, do it because a freshly drafted NFL prospect has an average career length of 3.3. years.
That doesn’t mean you trade your entire draft, it just means you shouldn’t be afraid to move some pieces. So let’s look at the three players the Browns should pursue via trade.