In the short time between the end of the NFL season and the opening of NFL free agency, dreams are articulated by fans and media. Dreams of scenarios that play out perfectly for a team for the following season.
For the Cleveland Browns, one of the dream scenarios involved a relatively inexpensive trade with the Indianapolis Colts to acquire DT DeForest Buckner. The thought was that the Colts would need to create cap space, probably starting a slight rebuild with a rookie quarterback and would want to free up space in dealing Buckner.
Even after the Browns signed Dalvin Tomlinson, Trysten Hill and Maurice Hurst, the team is still looking for more interior help. Veteran DT Al Woods was in for a visit last week.
With that in mind, the Buckner dream lived on in the background.
Not anymore. Indianapolis has restructured Buckner’s contract, making a trade to any team highly unlikely:
The #Colts converted $5 million of DT DeForest Buckner's salary this season into a signing bonus, clearing $2.5M in cap space. He'll still make $19.75M, which is now fully guaranteed.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 12, 2023
Paying out a $5 million bonus just to trade a player wouldn’t be a prudent move by a team.
For Cleveland, it is back to the drawing board. We covered five defensive tackles still available in NFL free agency, none in the realm of Buckner but none as expensive either.
With eight selections in the upcoming NFL draft, perhaps GM Andrew Berry has his eyes on a couple of big players as well.
For now, the Buckner dream dies, at least for this season.
Who is left on your dream board for the Browns?