A little over a year ago, the Cleveland Browns’ front office was being poked fun at or scrutinized by many in the national media. And even present day, I think you’ll find a couple of guys like Bill Polian on a national level or Tony Grossi on a local level who have a weird level of disdain for the team.
But there is a lot more positive press than negative press coming out of Cleveland these days, and when CBS Sports compiled their front office power rankings for the 2017 offseason, the Browns came in ranked fourth overall. Note that these rankings only measure the current offseason.
#4 - Browns: The Browns had another smart offseason. They didn't overthink the draft, choosing the consensus top pick in Myles Garrett. Getting a quarterback like DeShone Kizer at No. 52 overall could end up being the steal of the draft.
The Browns' success goes beyond the draft. In free agency, they signed guard Joel Bitonio to a contract extension and signed two additional offensive linemen in JC Tretter and Kevin Zeitler. So, expect improved offensive line play. Meanwhile, they acquired an extra second-round pick from Houston -- and all they have to do is pay Brock Osweiler's contract. For a team with tons of cap space, that's a great move. The Browns are functioning like a smart franchise. Weird.
The only three teams ranked ahead of the Browns were the Patriots, 49ers, and Buccaneers. The rest of the AFC North saw the Steelers at 9th, Ravens at 19th, and Bengals at 30th. The Texans also didn't get much praise for how they handled their quarterback situation, coming in at 29th:
The Texans failed to sign Tony Romo. Then they made the same mistake as the Chiefs and Bears, mortgaging their future to trade up for a quarterback (Deshaun Watson). If you can't already tell, I'm not a fan of selling draft assets all for the chance to draft a quarterback who might or might not develop into a NFL-caliber quarterback.
The Bears were also blasted, coming in at 32nd, for signing Mike Glennon to a big deal and then using so many assets to move up one spot for Mitchell Trubisky:
It's a shame, the Bears were actually having a productive offseason before their decision to trade up one spot for the right to select Mitch Trubisky. But you can't ignore that trade. The Bears were swindled by the 49ers, essentially bidding against themselves. They also gave Mike Glennon way too much money. Nobody will care about the trade if Trubisky ends up being good, but the process matters, as our Will Brinson explained recently. And the Bears messed up the process.