After going 1-15 last season, the Cleveland Browns probably could have done anything this offseason that would culminate in a better 2017 season. When it comes to looking at which teams have improved the most in their division this offseason, Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson picked the Browns from the AFC North:
I think as a division, the AFC North may have helped itself more than any other from top to bottom this offseason, but it’s hard not to love what the Browns have done. From effectively “buying” a second-round draft pick from the Houston Texans in the Brock Osweiler trade, to adding significant reinforcements to their offensive line, to locking up Jamie Collins and then snaring three first-round picks and QB DeShone Kizer by the end of the second round, this team is undoubtedly moving steadily away from the basement of the division and the league. What is most encouraging is that they didn’t panic for a quarterback, instead rebuilding the offense for whoever starts to have a much easier job. J.C. Tretter last season allowed just eight total pressures across seven games at center, while Cameron Erving notched 30 by the end of the year.
That’s not to say that Cleveland will be better than the teams in their division. If Cleveland becomes a mediocre last-place team this year, that would still be a monumental in degrees of improvement, albeit still behind the rest of the teams in the division.
But it has been a very good offseason for the Browns. Free agency was a hit with respect to upgrading the offensive line. The draft heavily focused on defense, and the team took a flier on a quarterback of the future with a rather low investment who fell in their lap. Just about the only thing that didn’t go Cleveland’s way were the contract negotiations with WR Terrelle Pryor, but I think most fans are in agreement that it was not because of anything Cleveland’s front office did wrong.