The Cleveland Browns need to revamp their receiving corps
It’s no surprise that the Cleveland Browns have had some issues passing the ball in 2021. A lot of that had to do with injuries, both current and previously existing. Jarvis Landry hasn’t looked like his elite self since his major hip surgery and Rashard Higgins was not the player many had hoped he’d be. It didn’t help that Baker Mayfield had a left shoulder that needed surgery and the quarterback and team both decided to just tough it out.
It also didn’t help that the Browns passing game was just so dang slow. Landry is running in the high-4.0’s these days, and while Odell Beckham is finding success in Los Angeles, he’s no longer the number one option. He’s still able to make plays as the Rams’ third option, but the Browns relied on him to be their ace receiver, something he’s no longer capable of being. His best fit is in LA where he can average under 40 yards a game, and barely more than 11 yards per reception and not hurt the Rams. Yes, he can still catch touchdowns when put in the position to do so, but he’s no longer the over-the-top receiver that he was in New York.
The Browns are in a precarious position, as their receiving corp is either filled with aging receivers whose best days are behind them or late-round picks that the team is hoping to develop. Guys like Demetric Felton (RB/WR combo) and Donovon Peoples-Jones were late-round picks for a reason and aren’t getting the separation you would like to see at this level. Anthony Schwartz appears to be a project pick, and considering his third-round draft position, makes him rather disappointing.
That doesn’t mean that all of these names need to go. Landry has value as a possession receiver, but he needs a play-maker across from him to take the pressure off of him. He does need to re-work his deal, however, that way the team can improve around him and maximize his potential.
Making these moves will help ensure that the Browns get the most accurate picture possible about Baker Mayfield. His injury caused a lot of people to doubt his skillset, and his behavior off the field has made some wonder about his ability to tune out the noise. Making these moves will either make Mayfield the man long-term in Cleveland or prove that the team needs to move on.
To be clear, the following players are not ‘either-or’ types, but a collection of all three. The Cleveland Browns need to acquire all three this offseason.