While the Cleveland Browns are 2-5 this season, they haven’t turned the page on the possibility of making the playoffs. QB Deshaun Watson’s return in a few weeks could be a big boost for those hopes but it has to start with a victory on Monday Night Football.
Trading for DT Daron Payne could help the team’s terrible run defense, this year and moving forward if an extension can be reached.
Instead, the biggest rumor surrounding the Browns is related to trading away RB Kareem Hunt including changing their mind about his trade demand.
Going into Monday night, Cleveland is 2.5 games behind AFC North leader Baltimore Ravens and two behind the Cincinnati Bengals, their opponent. If the Browns are to make the playoffs, it is likely through the division.
Going into Tuesday’s trade deadline, a few AFC North rumors have swirled:
The Ravens and general manager Eric DeCosta will always consider a trade, and the possibility of edge help, a running back or linebacker could be intriguing.
Baltimore is often very active in trades so seeing them on the buyer’s list is not surprising. There may be a couple of players that could meet their needs including DE Bradley Chubb and RB Cam Akers.
Pittsburgh, despite also being 2-5, doesn’t seem to be moving WR Chase Claypool:
The Steelers receiver has been the subject of trade talks for weeks, but barring a dramatic change, it doesn’t appear he’s going anywhere, sources say.
The Bengals are generally a more conservative team so the lack of noise surrounding the team is not surprising.
One other note for a player that could be connected to the Browns. WR Brandin Cooks has been made available by the Houston Texans. Watson’s former pass catcher has a huge guaranteed contract for the ‘23 season. In Cooks’ last season with Watson, he caught 81 passes for over 1,100 yards and six touchdowns.
The 29-year-old could be available at a reasonable trade price but his contract could make it difficult.
In the end, the NFL trade deadline is normally much more smoke than fire. A couple of smaller deals could happen but expecting a lot or big trades is unlikely.