In the last few days, the Cleveland Browns have created a lot of salary cap space. The Browns now have the most cap space in the NFL after redoing deals for OL Joel Bitonio and DE Myles Garrett. GM Andrew Berry did the same thing early this offseason with QB Deshaun Watson.
That cap space is highly likely to be used to help offset spending for next year. The benefit of having an owner that is willing to write big checks for signing bonuses whenever his GM asks is that Cleveland can kick the can down the road quite often.
With a rising salary cap, the Browns may be able to avoid real cap problems while chasing a Super Bowl title over the next five seasons.
Today, we dream. We take off our mostly logical hat and put on our unrealistic hat. What if 2023 was the only year that mattered? What if a Super Bowl title was in reach, or at least seemed to be, anytime between now and the NFL trade deadline?
Cleveland still doesn’t have a first-round selection in the next NFL draft but gets back to having their full allotment of picks after next year’s draft. For today’s dream article, it will be less about what the trade will entail and more about the excitement of the Browns acquiring one of these players:
The first name on the list for almost everyone when talking about adding to Cleveland. The idea of Donald joining Garrett, Dalvin Tomlinson, Shelby Harris, Za’Darius Smith and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo would create immediate nightmares for offenses. We hit on Donald earlier this offseason as a trade target possibility.
The Los Angeles Rams went from “F Them Picks” to rebuilding in a hurry. We could see Donald, Cooper Kupp and even Matthew Stafford being dangled in trades sooner rather than later.
Toning down the excitement just a little bit from Donald, before ramping it back up, Simmons is an interesting linebacker on an Arizona Cardinals team that is going nowhere. The 6’4” Simmons has been played at safety, cornerback and linebacker in Arizona but could be a chess piece for Jim Schwartz in Cleveland.
While a versatile linebacker may not be as dreamy as the rest of this list, Simmons could really make an impact with the way the Browns defense is constructed and provide depth with an injury-riddled unit.
Our community members are always helpful. We will take Simmons as a slot corner with his size:
At one point, Josh McDaniels was seen as the savior Cleveland needed. Now, he looks to be trying to salvage his second head coaching position with Jimmy Garoppolo taking over for Derek Carr. Adams pushed for a trade to the Las Vegas Raiders to team with Carr and could be looking for his way out if the season doesn’t start well.
While Adams reuniting with Aaron Rodgers will be discussed, joining the Browns would give the team a much better version of DeAndre Hopkins that fans wanted this offseason. Adams is a precise, talented route runner that would create perfection in Cleveland’s passing attack.
A weird one here but we are dreaming. Currently, Jerome Ford is the Browns backup running back. Ford is also out with an injury at this point leaving no depth behind stud Nick Chubb. While Taylor wants a contract extension, joining the Browns to form the best two-headed monster in the game could keep his carries low and value high.
It would not be the best use of trade assets but having Chubb and Taylor would make sure defenses never got a break, neither back ever got wore down and provide protection from injury.
We end with a little family connection to Cleveland. Jake Matthews is the son of Bruce Matthews and nephew of Browns legend Clay Matthews Jr.
The Atlanta Falcons are going nowhere at this point with Desmond Ridder as their quarterback while the 31-year-old left tackle has four seasons left on his contract. Adding Matthews in Cleveland would spell the end of Jedrick Wills’ time with the team (perhaps as a part of the trade to acquire Matthews) but Jack Conklin, Matthews and Wills, along with Dawand Jones, would give the Browns depth and injury protection.
Which of these dream candidates would you want to see the Browns trade for? Do you have another realistic option out there?