Can the Cleveland Browns really afford to replace Jedrick Wills this offseason?

Cleveland Browns Jedrick Wills(Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns Jedrick Wills(Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns need to upgrade the offensive line this offseason and it may start with Jedrick Wills.

When you look at the offensive line, it’s far easier to find a good interior guy than it is an exterior player. At least if you’re the Cleveland Browns. Playing between Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller makes everyone’s job easier. Jack Conklin, when healthy, is one of the best tackles in the league. He usually got a little help though as well with the occasional blocking from Harrison Bryant and Pharaoh Brown.

Yet, the left tackle spot is usually on its own, meaning you don’t get as much help. So you have to be the most competent player on the line of scrimmage, as you won’t likely get much help. You’re not supposed to, you’re supposed to be the best guy on the field. So when we look at Jedrick Wills, it’s very easy to see that he’s just not that guy.

The Browns need to upgrade the left tackle spot on the team because Wills has proven he’s not able to handle the better pass rushers in the league, and he’s too slow of foot to be a dominant run-blocker from that spot on the field.

But the Browns can’t afford to replace Wills. The team just doesn’t have the cap space needed. Especially with the need to fill in a few key backup roles on the team and a looming decision on what to do with Ethan Pocic.

It seems like the Browns can easily move on from Pocic with this system being very beneficial to centers, especially with the two All-Pros surrounding the spot. Moving on from Pocic will help them in their quest to cut salary, so that seems likely. But, is there a way the Browns can continue to save money on the offensive line without having to trade or cut Wills, and get a new player at his position?

The Cleveland Browns need to swap Jedrick Wills with Jack Conklin

There’s a simple solution to the issue at hand, move Wills to right tackle and Conklin to left. When healthy, Conklin is a great pass blocker. While Wills isn’t bad, he’s not as good as Conklin, well at least not when Conklin is healthy. Conklin has really proven himself as an elite-level offensive lineman with the Browns and may be able to fill the need at left tackle that Wills isn’t filling.

If Conklin is healthy, he’s powerful enough to open up gaps on his own and quick enough to seal the edge from pass rushers. Wills has the size and can stand a guy upright. Maybe he’s just not quick enough on his own. If the Browns can pair him with a tight end who has some power, the team may be able to get the most out of Wills for the first time in his career. Especially as a run-blocker.

Maybe Wills can find a second life as a right tackle, and if he still stumbles, then it’ll be time to replace him in 2024.

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