The Cleveland Browns began the season with high hopes and after six games find themselves in playoff contention as long as the wins keep coming to add to their 4-2-0 record.
But there are holes. And how does a franchise fill apparent holes as the season rolls along? Why, through a trade or two? Do they need to bring in a stud receiver or an offensive tackle? What about the linebacker position or maybe another cornerback to help solidify this position?
The NFL trade deadline is October 31 at 4 p.m. ET. Franchises use this vehicle to fill needs but also deal with salary cap issues and future draft picks.
The Browns enter the portion of their schedule with several winnable games. With Cleveland sporting the league’s best defense so far, they will need their offense to keep them in games. The top tackler for the Browns is safety Grant Delpit who is ranked 85th in the league. As good as this defense is, they don’t have any player with monster tackling numbers. JOK is next with 30 tackles good enough for 130th.
Dianna Russini of The Athletic reported that Browns GM Andrew Berry has been contacting several NFL clubs as both a buyer and a seller.
“The Cleveland Browns have been calling around as both buyers and sellers. They’ve been scanning the market looking for some affordable options. I’m told they are looking to possibly add a receiver and an offensive lineman.”
Will the Browns be buyers leading up to this year’s trade deadline? This one move or two may become the catalyst to ensure Cleveland makes the post-season tournament this year.
Susquehanna Valley Browns Backers
From the perspective of a lifelong Browns fan, due to injuries, it appears that the Browns must seriously consider acquiring quality depth in order to make the long slog to a successful season and deep playoff run.
Trading for a quality O-lineman like Denver’s OT Garret Bolles or OT Trent Brown from the New England Patriots is a must. Then I’d consider trying to acquire a speed merchant at WR like Marquis Brown to help open the middle of the field for the TEs, DPJ, and Amari Cooper.
DB, safety, and pass rusher depth will likely be considered. WR D.J. Chark, S Budda Baker, and even injured S Jeremy Chinn should be available. DE Brian Burns of the Carolina Panthers should be available as well.
Running backs like Derrick Henry should be considered for the remainder of the season and Miles Sanders for a two or three-year contract consideration. The Browns have $35 million in cap space to make a splash for an elite playmaker, or two, and to create quality roster depth. No excuses!
The Mr. Deacon Experience Browns podcast
I must start with the greatest position of need for the Browns and that is the position of quarterback. Everyone knows that the QB is the field general, the leader and the most expensive player on the team. P.J. Walker has experienced quite a few lucky breaks in his last two NFL starts. I feel he lacks the arm strength and situational awareness to keep riding by the skin of his teeth and eventually, the Browns will lose a game if this oversight is not corrected. We do not know the full extent of Watson’s shoulder injury so I will propose a few ideas.
1. Contact the Washington Commanders and see what it will take to bring Jacoby Brissett back to the Browns. He seems to know Stefanski’s system. He is also a fan favorite in Cleveland and the town appreciated his above-average play while he was the starter for Watson last year. This scenario would involve a trade to make things happen. I will include DPJ (Donavan-Peoples Jones) and a late-rounder to make everything happen. DPJ is in a contract year and based on how the offense is running, he has not been very productive this year with the arrival of Marquise Goodwin and Elijah Moore.
2. Not trading for anyone and calling up the former Super Bowl winner and MVP Nick Foles who is a free agent. Foles’ reputation as a team player is beyond reproach. I feel he would be a better fit than other free agents Carson Wentz or Matt Ryan. Wentz is more of the spoiled entitled crybaby and Ryan is just washed up. The need to do something and fast to keep our playoff hopes alive. Yes, Foles was sitting at the bar with no phone call, but Kareem Hurt was right beside him and if it had not been for Nick Chubb’s injury, I feel he would still be sitting at home. Let’s give Foles a shot. If not go back to Walker.
DBN Staff Writer
Will Berry be aggressive at the trade deadline? ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler explained his thoughts:
“The Browns made two deals in August, and maybe they have one more in them. Andrew Berry is considered one of the more aggressive general managers, and the Browns could use help along the offensive line due to injury.”
Here are 3 players the Browns should try to work out a trade for:
DE Danielle Hunter (6’-5”, 263 pounds) – Minnesota Vikings
Has been steady in production since arriving with the Vikings. The Browns traded for Za’Darius Smith from Minnesota during the off-season who has had huge numbers in his past healthy three seasons, but so far has been invisible as far as stat numbers including just a single sack. Hunter would become a true bookend for Myles Garrett.
The #Vikings and three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Danielle Hunter agreed to terms on a new one-year deal worth $20 million, sources tell me and @RapSheet.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 30, 2023
Hunter gets $17M guaranteed and a no-tag clause, with a chance to earn a big payday next March. pic.twitter.com/Ou4WpFXjY5
The Vikings are slated to be sellers at the trade deadline and Hunter is on a one-year deal. The 28-year-old still has good legs with 4.57 speed. He has been named to three Pro Bowls including last season. His injury history includes a herniated disc in his neck in 2020 and a season-ending torn pectoral muscle in 2021.
In 2018 and 2019, he had 14.5 sacks in both seasons. This year he already has nine sacks and 80 for his career. He is a good tackler with 413 now playing in his 8th season. He has had four seasons of double-digit sack numbers. Not only is Hunter available every game despite the physicality of the trenches, but he was among the NFL leaders in snaps played on the defensive line.
Hunter does a good job of affecting the quarterback with his pass rush. Teams want to keep the athletes on the field who have a chance to make plays to change the game around. Trading for Hunter would make this Browns defense not just greater, but elite.
OT D.J. Humphries (6’-5”, 305 pounds) – Arizona Cardinals
It is no secret the Browns have a problem at left tackle with former first-round pick Jedrick Wills. Bringing in 29-year-old Humphries would solve this dilemma. The worst thing to happen to Cleveland is to get into the playoffs and not be able to block out the opposing team’s right defensive ends all game and wreck the year.
Wills has been allowing a ridiculous amount of pressure from his left tackle position which is a critical spot come the playoffs. It would make sense for the Browns to seek an option to replace him.
Humphries is under contract through the 2025 season having signed a three-year $66.6 million extension before training camp in 2022. The Cardinals’ front office is clearly in asset collection mode, so Humphries services should be on the block wanting to shed his contract off their books. He could come at a bargain for the former Pro Bowler.
Humphries is a road grader who has allowed just three sacks this season. He relies on his superior athleticism and fist-fight mentality rather than an improved skill set and steady technique. His nasty demeanor is an asset and does not quit and stand around like Wills has been known to do. Humphries plays to the whistle and is a finisher. He possesses flexible hips and knees with leverage that wins in the running game.
The knock on him is he sometimes is a leaner, and this year already has six penalties. But Humphries has the desired foot quickness combined with proper angles to be an effective blocker on the play side and back side on stretch plays. He has played in 90 NFL games with 90 starts so durability is in his toolbox.
WR Courtland Sutton (6’-4”, 216 pounds) – Denver Broncos
Denver should be major sellers and just may let go of Sutton as well as WR Jerry Jeudy, but Sutton has been the more productive of the two despite the seduction of Jeudy’s speed.
The 28-year-old Sutton has gone to one Pro Bowl and runs a 4.54 in the 40. A big-bodied receiver with an arm length of almost 33 inches, he was taken in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. He is durable with 43 targets this season. He has 3,838 yards with 19 touchdowns and 172 first down catches for his career.
The Browns’ receiving group this year has been very disappointing for anyone who does not have the word “Cooper” on their nameplate. Bringing in Marquise Goodwin and trading for Elijah Moore has done little for this offense. Add the fact that DPJ has been the invisible man this year something has to change to get this receiver room some better production.
Sutton’s NFL size, downfield physicality, strong hands, and strider’s deep speed are all indications of his abilities. He is a possession receiver who has the size and toughness to handle a heavier target load and is a willing worker in the middle of traffic.
He is not going to blow off anybody’s doors with his speed mind you, plus he has a tendency to attempt to get by on his just his size and scheme over pattern effort.
But Sutton is mentally and physically tough and would allow Cleveland the luxury of finding a trade partner for DPJ.
Put on your GM hat. What position would you trade for?
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