The Cleveland Browns had to endure more than most in the NFL this past season, and they excelled despite a wide variety of injuries throughout the season on both sides of the ball. The fact that this team found a way to win 11 games in 2023 is nothing short of miraculous, but there are also big questions facing this team in 2024.
General manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski have their work cut out for them. This team is obviously being built around quarterback Deshaun Watson, but rather than being built around him in the good way, the Browns are sort of like a vehicle having to navigate around a ton of construction to get to work every day. That $230 million deal for Watson is an albatross, and it's going to result in the loss of certain players in the 2024 offseason.
Which starters might this Browns team have to replace before too long? Let's take a look at a handful.
1. At Least One Defensive Tackle
One way or the other, the Cleveland Browns are going to have to replace at least one, maybe two, and possibly three defensive linemen that played significant snaps for the team in 2023.
All of veterans Shelby Harris, Jordan Elliott, and Maurice Hurst are projected free agents in 2024 and while it's possible that one or two come back to Cleveland, the Browns also have contingency plans in place. Let's take a look at the snaps getting replaced with those three guys in 2024:
- Jordan Elliott: 444 snaps
- Shelby Harris: 442 snaps
- Maurice Hurst: 307 snaps
The fact that each player had over 300 snaps this past year is significant. Jim Schwartz, the Browns' defensive coordinator, obviously wants to rotate guys and send pass rush in waves. He was able to do that in 2023 but the Browns' front office may need to get creative in 2024 to fit as good of a unit under budget.