It’s really not too early to be talking trade, even for the Cleveland Browns, who are 2-1 entering October.
There’s been a lot to like, but clearly, the Browns are far from where they need to be in January. Alas, it’s all good, as the team has plenty of time to figure things out before the playoffs start.
The Browns could look to improve the roster ahead of the deadline, but I’m not sure the names thrown out on this list are as expendable as we think.
The Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey listed D’Ernest Johnson, Harrison Bryant and Andrew Billings as players who should be on the trade block.
I think a trade of any of these players is probably unlikely, but nothing beats transaction talk, to let’s debate the merits of each player listed by Tansey.
Cleveland Browns won’t trade this talent
1. I’ll start with Bryant, because it’s the longest shot the author listed. I’m under the impression that the Browns really, really like the 2020 fourth-round pick. Has he fallen behind Austin Hooper and David Njoku, who are second and third, respectively, in receiving yards.
The article’s argument for trading Bryant hinges on him being affordable. Njoku and Hooper make a combined $14 million and are contributors.
But with Njoku staring down free agency this offseason, I’m not so sure Andrew Berry will want to let a go a player who he drafted and that the organization developed, go for a mid-to-late-round draft pick.
Bryant had some solid moments as a rookie. He’s made some catches this year, as well. It’s still very early.
2. As for D’Ernest Johnson, I don’t think a team would offer up anything in a deal because if it gets to the point where the Browns need a roster spot, they’ll just waive him. The other teams know this.
It does seem that Johnson’s role is diminishing, as Demetric Felton has emerged as the kick/punt returner.
But he’s 25 and making $800,000. It’s not all that great a burden to carry someone who has flashed in an NFL game before.
3. As for Billings, the Browns really can’t afford to give up on him, just yet. The defensive line is riding high after the Bears’ win, but it was just one short week ago a healthy sect of the fan base was demanding to know why Sheldon Richardson wasn’t retained.
I”m going to the “still early” card, but we’re talking about a position group that can chew up bodies through the course of a season. Does it seem like Billings is expendable, now? Sure, clearly, his snap count diminishes by the week, but wonder if Malik McDowell or Malik Jackson gets hurt?
Jordan Elliott is a solid option on the bench, but after that we’re talking about Tommy Togiai. This isn’t to slam the Ohio State rookie, but I think he needs some time to incubate and get in more practice reps.