It feels like the NFL season somehow just started and has been going on for months as we prepare for Week 6 to kick off on Thursday night. The NFL trade deadline is just around the corner, October 31st, but NFL rumors are mostly quiet except for the Denver Broncos potential fire sale.
For the Cleveland Browns, significant hope is unlikely to come from outside of the team this year. With salary cap concerns moving forward and limited draft capital in 2024, GM Andrew Berry may be able to make moves in the margins but big deals seem unlikely.
While we wait for actual NFL rumors to start swirling, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell projected 15 different trades (subscriber, $) that he thought could help teams. Cleveland was involved in two of those trades including bringing back RB D’Ernest Johnson:
Browns get: RB D’Ernest Johnson, 2024 seventh-round pick
Jaguars get: 2024 fifth-round pick
As Barnwell notes, Cleveland has not gotten much out of their running game and relying on Kareem Hunt and Jerome Ford might not be a great idea. Johnson, who returned home to Florida to sign with Jacksonville, has only gotten six carries this year.
While the return of DEJ might be exciting, trading away DPJ is a trade that could create the opposite emotional effect:
Jets get: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
Browns get: WR Mecole Hardman Jr.
Peoples-Jones had a very good year last year but is in the last year of his rookie contract while Hardman has barely seen the field in New York after signing a one-year deal this offseason. Cleveland safety Juan Thornhill did a little recruiting of Hardman to come to the Browns before he signed with the Jets this offseason.
Barnwell’s goal with adding Hardman to Cleveland is to help with the punt return game in exchange for DPJ who “has been targeted just 14 times on 131 routes this season, which ranks 111th out of 114 wideouts.”
Overall, as expected, neither trade would be considered a huge deal or a season changer but could help the Browns in the margins. Barnwell projects a few bigger deals but all seem more expensive than the ones Cleveland could pull off this year.
What do you think of bringing back D’Ernest and/or flipping DPJ for Hardman? See what others are saying in the comment section below and share your thoughts there as well