The Cleveland Browns’ free agency signings from day one get graded

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HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 01: Jack Conklin #78 of the Tennessee Titans and J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans go one on one at NRG Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 57-14. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The best of the best – Jack Conklin

It’s ok to be high on Jack Conklin. It’s ok to think he’s the best free-agent available. It’s even ok to have a bit of the ‘ol-man-crush on Conklin. Why? Because Conklin is a murderer. Not in the literal sense, but in the proverbial, ‘will rip your head off and feed it to his pigs to make sure his team scores a touchdown’ kind.

Conklin helped anchor an offensive line in Tennessee that might need some major overhauling now that Conklin has mosied on up I-71. The Titans re-signed Dennis Kelly to replace Conklin, yet his deal is far less impressive than Conklin’s. According to Field Yates, the deal is worth $21MM with Kelly getting $8.75M guaranteed.

Conklin’s, on the other hand, will be paid $20 million alone in his first season with the Browns. The deal is worth $42 million over three years, with $30 million guaranteed. Pretty high price for a right tackle. The team’s decision to not think of Conklin as a left tackle is interesting and shows you where their priorities lay in the draft. As a right tackle, however, he’s leaps and bounds better than any incumbent they’ve had for years at the position.

He’s young, only 25, he’s powerful and quick. He’s a huge addition to the line, for a moderate markup, and he’s going to make an immediate impact. Yes, he had consistency issues and hopefully, that’s behind him now as his first and fourth years in the league were highly impressive.

He’s the perfect free-agent signing. A guy who has all the talent in the world, tremendous upside and a former team too afraid to pull the trigger.

Sure, worst-case scenario, he bottoms out for the Browns. Thereby never becoming the anchor he’s supposed to be, causing Baker Mayfield to get hit more times than Rocky Balboa in all six Rocky films and the team implodes; leaving the fanbase to die a slow death. Again. For the 26th season in a row.

Best-case scenario? He becomes a versatile starter who leads the Browns to the NFL Playoffs.

Nightmare scenario or pie-in-the-sky optimism. That’s how we roll in Cleveland. No middle ground.

Grade = A+

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