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Browns Offseason: 3 of Cleveland’s most questionable moves from 2023

A look back on a few of Cleveland’s more questionable moves from the 2023 offseason

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NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame-New York Jets at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Now that this year’s offseason is officially in full swing for the Cleveland Browns, it’s time to continue looking back at how Andrew Berry and the rest of this front office performed in the 2023 offseason.

Similar to the way that some of the best moves had their immediate impact on the way things went for Cleveland this season, the same thing can be said about the questionable ones as well.

Heading into the 2023 regular season the Browns were noticeably weak in a few areas regarding positional depth. Though the team undoubtedly had an exceptional offseason overall there were a few moves, or lack thereof, that stood out both at the time and in hindsight.

Not re-signing LB Reggie Ragland

Reggie Ragland was signed in Week 13 of the 2022 campaign and was without a doubt one of the team’s best linebackers throughout the final 4 games of the season. Yes, it certainly could’ve been a flash-in-the-pan type of situation but he definitely deserved to be brought back for linebacker depth this past offseason.

He could’ve easily been re-signed to a cheap 1-year deal to provide depth at the MIKE linebacker position, as well as being a productive “headhunter” on special teams in 2023.

Drafting DT Siaki Ika instead of a defensive back like Mekhi Blackmon at pick 98 in the 2023 NFL Draft

One could say that this isn’t fair seeing as how Ika only participated in a few games this season, but there were other more “pressing” areas of need for the team at pick 98. Mekhi Blackmon, who a lot of draft analysts were high on and believed to be a good fit for Cleveland was on the board at that spot.

It was no secret that Jim Schwartz likes to utilize a good amount of Nickel packages so it would’ve been smart to take somebody there that had the potential to be an effective player in the slot.

Blackmon was selected by the Minnesota Vikings at pick 102, and played very well both inside and outside for the Vikings, earning a PFF grade of 71.7. This was one of the top grades amongst rookie defensive backs in 2023.

WR Austin Watkins Jr. not making the initial 53-man roster

Austin Watkins gained notoriety during the 2023 preseason games due to his above-average production and crazy “circus” catches. It was surprising to see that the team decided to leave him off of their initial 53-man roster heading into Week 1 despite wanting to throw the ball more with Deshaun Watson. He showed more than enough talent throughout training camp and preseason to warrant a spot on the active roster from day 1.

There was at least a chance that he could’ve provided a spark to the passing game in the regular season had he been given the chance to contribute from the beginning. Cleveland also ended up having to deal with quite a few injuries to the wide receiver position at the end of the year as well.


What was your least favorite personnel move of the 2023 offseason? Join fellow Browns fans in the comment section below.