Knowing that ESPN's Bill Barnwell (formerly of Football Outsiders and Grantland) is in to analytics, it's no surprise that his report card for the Cleveland Browns' 2016 offseason was very favorable to what the new front office has done. Barnwell provided a nice, well-researched dissection of what every team in the AFC North has done this offseason, and the Browns ended up with the best report card.
Barnwell's AFC North Offseason Grades
Baltimore Ravens received a C+
Cincinnati Bengals received a B
Cleveland Browns received an A-
Pittsburgh Steelers received a B+
According to Barnwell, here is what went right for the Browns this offseason:
Trading down for massive amounts of draft capital - "Per the Chase Stuart draft chart, by even a conservative estimate, the Browns added 32 points of draft capital to their coffers with their trades. To put that in context, the expected return from the No. 1 pick in a typical draft is 34.6 points. Throw in the expected value of the four compensatory picks the Browns will receive after losing free agents, and they're up to 43.9 points of added draft capital this offseason. That's as aggressive of a game plan as any one organization has executed in a single offseason in recent memory."
Signing Robert Griffin III, who Barnwell calls a low-risk, high-upside quarterback as opposed to someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Hoyer, who aren't meant for rebuilding teams.
I hear a lot of people say that the Browns accumulating draft picks is a bad move because the franchise has blown so many of them. Barnwell has heard the same thing and agrees with my mentality, saying, "That's reductive and silly -- if the Browns are cursed no matter what, why not try the best possible process?"
As for what the Browns did wrong this offseason, he thinks the club should have re-signed at least some of their younger free agents, particularly S Tashaun Gipson or RT Mitchell Schwartz. The Browns will be trying to replace the free safety and right tackle with a committee of about 3-4 players at each position who will compete the rest of the offseason.
What do you think of Barnwell's assessment, Browns fans?