Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry, like most people, tends to repeat previous behaviors if they worked out. Like too many humans, he sometimes repeats behaviors that haven’t yet worked out.
That is why it is still hard to believe him at his word that he doesn’t have any kind of age guardrail when it comes to early draft selections.
Last year, Berry got a steal of a deal when he traded two later draft selections to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for WR Amari Cooper and a draft pick. Cooper went on to have an excellent season in 2022 for the Browns while the team also reworked his contract to make it more palatable upfront.
Zak Jackson at The Athletic (subscriber, $) noted that Cleveland could be looking to do the same thing once again this year:
Actually, they might not even wait that long as they figure to try to trade for at least one proven player, too, and as other teams make money-driven decisions in the coming days, it remains entirely possible that the Browns will get a chance to follow last year’s Amari Cooper model and use third-day picks to acquire a good player, then eventually re-shape the contract that player’s previous team needed to go away.
Later in his piece, Jackson brought up Indianapolis Colts DT DeForest Buckner as one name that would make a lot of sense in a Cooper-style trade. The Colts are likely looking at drafting a rookie quarterback high in the 2023 NFL draft and paying a 29-year-old defensive tackle $20 million a year may not make sense at the same time.
Buckner has only missed two games in his seven seasons in the league despite playing in the middle of the trenches. He has had 24.5 sacks the last three seasons with Indianapolis after 28.5 in his first three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
If Berry can acquire Buckner for a similar package that he got Cooper for, while either renegotiating or extending his contract, the Browns defense could see a similar uptick that the offense did last year.