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Cleveland Browns Free Agent Review: C Ethan Pocic

Pocic was a key piece last year, but will the team’s cap situation compel them to let him walk?

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With C Ethan Pocic emerging as a solid starting center in 2022, it might seem like Cleveland should go hard at bringing him back. But Pocic’s play may have out-priced his stay in Cleveland.

How and When He Joined the Browns: After JC Tretter was cut (and then retired) last offseason, the Browns signed Pocic as a free agent after having spent the first five years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks.

Productivity Level Last Season: Due to a preseason injury to Nick Harris, Pocic was given the first crack at being the Browns’ starter. What began as him being surprisingly stable turned into a consistency of excellence. He started 13 games, missing 4 games with a knee injury. Pro Football Focus graded him as a top-10 center in the NFL last year.

Why Keeping Him Could Make Sense: The previous sentence speaks for itself: Pocic was a top-10 center in the NFL, per PFF. He passed the eye test too, and Cleveland’s running game improved and lagged depending on whether he was in the lineup or not (as did the team’s quarterback sneak success with Jacoby Brissett). From a production standpoint, Pocic checks all the boxes and is still young enough to warrant a new deal. Barry Shuck of DBN wrote about Pocic’s NFL journey in a nice article from last November.

What the Browns Should Do: While I’d love for the Browns to re-sign Pocic, he’s probably going to get a 3-year, $22 million deal. Cleveland already has too many high investments in Jedrick Wills, Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller, and Jack Conklin. Pocic was a luxury when he thrived out of no where with a 1-year, $1.2 million deal. Now, he’s the top free agent center and is going to command a nice deal from another team that Cleveland won’t want to match. Instead, the Browns will try yet again to make things work with Harris.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer thinks the Browns will talk numbers with Pocic, but that Harris is the guy they have penciled in right now:

“The Browns feel good about 2020 fifth-round pick Nick Harris, who’s coming off a season-ending injury suffered in the preseason opener. Harris is on track to start the season, and the Browns still believe in him as a starter.”

Let us know below whether or not the team should try to re-sign C Ethan Pocic.


Should the Browns re-sign C Ethan Pocic?

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