Whew! The Cleveland Browns were the focal point of the sports world on the Friday before free agency, stealing all of the headlines with three trades being reported in a span of two hours. It might be tough to track everything that happened, so let’s recap it all in this one post.
Before we begin, remember that none of these trades can become official until 4:00 PM ET on Wednesday, March 14, which is the start of the new league year.
Trade #1 - WR Jarvis Landry to the Browns (from Dolphins)
At 4:22 PM, the first headline broke that the Miami Dolphins were trading WR Jarvis Landry to the Browns. In return, Cleveland is sending a fourth-round pick (No. 123 overall) in 2018 and a seventh-round pick in 2019 to Miami. That fourth-round pick was the one Cleveland originally acquired from the Carolina Panthers a couple years ago for P Andy Lee.
Cleveland absorbs the $15.982 million franchise tag that Landry is on in 2018, but the Browns will presumably seek a contract extension with him.
Trade #2 - QB Tyrod Taylor to the Browns (from Bills)
At 6:00 PM, the second headline broke that the Buffalo Bills were trading QB Tyrod Taylor to the Browns. In return, Cleveland is sending a third-round pick (No. 65 overall) in 2018 to Buffalo. It is the most lucrative of picks that the Browns parted ways with today, but it also represented what would have been their sixth pick in the draft. Taylor has a $16 million cap hit in 2018.
Trade #3 - CB Damarious Randall to the Browns (and QB DeShone Kizer to the Packers)
At 6:13 PM, the third headline broke that the Green Bay Packers were trading CB Damarious Randall to the Browns. At 6:41 PM, the fourth headline was that we learned QB DeShone Kizer will be headed to the Packers as part of the deal. Randall is in the final year of his contract and carries a $1.514 million cap hit.
It was also reported that Cleveland and Green Bay are swapping the positions of picks in the fourth and fifth rounds. If the swap involves each team’s original picks, then this will be what happens: In the fourth round, that means Cleveland is giving up No. 101 (first pick of the fourth round) in exchange for No. 114 (14th pick of the fourth round). In the fifth round, Cleveland is giving up No. 138 (first pick of the fifth round) in exchange for No. 150 (13th pick of the fifth round). However, Green Bay also has several compensatory picks, which are quite lower, in rounds four and five. Hopefully it doesn’t involves those ones.
UPDATE: On Saturday, the Browns executed a fourth trade, sending DT Danny Shelton to the New England Patriots.
We’ll do a more formal update soon, but here is a loose update: last night, we estimated that the Browns had $114.39 million in available cap space. They added:
- Landry ($15.982M cap hit)
- Taylor ($16.000M cap hit)
- Randall ($1.514M cap hit)
That comes to $33.496M. They’ll also carry $179,494 million in extra money by getting rid of Kizer, bringing that to $33.675M. You’ll also get rid of two minimum salary players from the Top 51 at $555,000 each, meaning a credit of $1.11 million. So the net change should be that the Browns lost $32.565M in cap space.
That puts the Browns at $81.825 million in available cap space, which is still second in the NFL, only behind the New York Jets.
The Moves Themselves & Other Notes
- Cleveland now has their bridge quarterback, and figure to be a lock at No. 1 or No. 4 overall to select their quarterback of the future.
- Landry is a slot receiver who is durable and can lead the league in catches. There is no doubt he can play, and complements Josh Gordon well since he is the one who stretches the field.
- Randall is a bit of a question mark, having underachieved as a former first-round pick. But he was picked by Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith while they were with Green Bay, so they believe in him and he adds more depth to the position.
- The Browns still own five of the top 64 picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. That includes No. 1 and No. 4 in the first round, and No. 33, No. 35, and No. 64 in the second round.
- The only thing that could make this night better is if LT Joe Thomas announces that he’s playing in 2018.
- After the three trades happened, Dustin Fox of 92.3 the Fan said on the radio that he heard a fourth trade “was pretty much done,” but he wasn’t sure when it’d be announced and he wouldn’t say what it was.
- The Browns were about to trade a 2nd and 3rd round pick last year for QB A.J. McCarron. They basically got the trio of Landry, Taylor, and Randall for less than that. Yes, there are some cap hits, but that is negligible to the Browns.
- Here is a simple outline of what the Browns gained and lost today:
Final tally from today:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2018
QB Tyrod Taylor
WR Jarvis Landry
CB Damarious Randall
Packers’ 4th- and 5th-round picks in 2018.
2018 3rd-round pick
QB Deshone Kizer
2018 4th- and 5th-round picks
Still have 5 of top 65 picks next month