Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry has a lengthy “to-do list” this offseason.
Berry needs to determine what to do with at least a couple of veteran players with big contracts (Mr. Jarvis Landry and Mr. Austin Hooper, please pick up the nearest white courtesy phone), find at least two starting-caliber wide receivers, fix the defensive tackle position, decide which of the team’s free agents are worthy of a new deal, and build his board for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Berry will do all that in tune with the league-mandated calendar, which includes the following key dates that Cleveland fans should mark in their date planner.
Shrine Bowl and Senior Bowl
Teams will get another opportunity to take a look at some of this year’s draft class at the Shrine Bowl, which takes place February 3 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, and the Senior Bowl, which takes place February 5 at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
The Browns will have four assistant coaches working at the Shrine Bowl - defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator Jeff Howard, offensive coaching assistant Ryan Cordell, Bill Willis Coaching Fellow Ashton Grant and assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters - which will give them some additional data to work with.
Super Bowl LVI
For the 57th consecutive season, the Browns will not be participating in the NFL’s annual championship game, which takes place this year on February 13 at SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California. So, let’s just move on.
NFL Scouting Combine
The annual Scouting Combine takes place from March 1 to March 7 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. TV ratings will be high in NE Ohio when the wide receivers and defensive linemen have their respective workout days.
Franchise or Transition Players
The deadline for teams to designate franchise or transition players is March 8.
Free agency begins at noon on March 14 and continues until 4 p.m. on March 16. During that time, teams may negotiate with certified agents of any player who is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
However, players are not allowed to actually sign a contract with a new team until 4 p.m. on March 16.
Depending on where you look, and based on the NFL office completing a final accounting of the salary cap numbers, the Browns will have around $24.9 million (overthecap.com) to $27.6 million (spotrac.com) in available cap space.
That number could change, however, if Berry decides to rework wide receiver Jarvis Landry’s contract, which carries a salary-cap hit of $16.55 million and a dead cap of just $1.5 million if he’s released.
Berry may also want to move on from tight end Austin Hooper, who has underperformed his contract in his two seasons with the Browns. If Cleveland were to designate Hooper as a post-June 1 release, it would save them $9.5 million but take up $3.75 million in dead cap space.
Cleveland’s unrestricted free agents are:
- Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end
- Dustin Colquitt, punter
- Ronnie Harrison, safety
- Chris Hubbard, offensive tackle
- Rashard Higgins, wide receiver
- Malik Jackson, defensive tackle
- Takk McKinley, defensive end
- David Njoku, tight end
- Malcolm Smith, linebacker
- MJ Stewart, defensive back
- Anthony Walker, linebacker
The Browns can begin their offseason workout program on April 18. Teams that have a new head coach - which thankfully does not include the Browns - can begin their offseason workouts on April 4.
Restricted Free Agents
The deadline for restricted free agents to sign their offer sheets - if they received one - is April 22.
Cleveland’s restricted free agents are:
- Stephen Carlson, tight end
- D’Ernest Johnson, running back
- Chase McLaughlin, placekicker
- Ifeadi Odenigbo, defensive end
2022 NFL Draft
The NFL Draft will take place from April 28 to April 30 in Las Vegas.
The Browns are currently slated to pick at No. 13 overall in the first round, the first of the eight picks they currently possess. That includes a fourth-round selection from the Detroit Lions that Berry picked up in the trade that allowed them to select linebacker Tony Fields II in the fifth-round of last year’s draft.