With free agency beginning in just a little less than two weeks and the draft on the horizon, the Browns will hope to do a little more than just hyping the fans up before yet another disappointing season. Already, notable trades have taken place and the rumor mill is on fire. For the first time in recent memory, the Browns aren’t really being mentioned as contenders to do anything in particular, which may be a good thing.
What should the Browns do, then, before this year’s season opener? Let’s analyze a few options:
1. Draft a Tackle to Help Shore up the Offensive Line
JC Tretter and Joel Bitonio are phenomenal linemen, but the rest of the line was in absolute shambles this season. In particular, the right tackle may as well have been held down by a Matador, beckoning the defense in freely most of the season. There are a number of enticing players entering the draft this year to help fix that. Among them, Mekhi Bechton out of Louisville is exactly the kind of guy the Browns need. He’s huge, he’s respectably fast and, more importantly, he doesn’t have a history of being stupid on and off the field (coughGregRobinsoncough) and would fill a position of desperate need from Day 1. Apart from Bechton, other solid options include Alaric Jackson out of Iowa, Walker Little out of Stanford and, of course, Trey Adams out of Washington.
2. Put the Team Medical Staff Under Fire (or Just Fire Them)
It is baffling that this, in particular, has been neglected following the horrific incident surrounding Odell Beckham Jr. this past season. Beckham dealt with a sports hernia injury that went unresolved, and unacknowledged, until late in the season for at least several weeks. If that type of serious injury was allowed to run rampant on a star player, who’s to say it won’t continue to happen to a less prominent member of the team? And how do we know it wasn’t happening with anyone else?
If the team does not part ways with the entirety of their medical staff, then a large discussion must be had behind closed doors, where the staff must be passionately talked to about the ordeal. To be honest, a total overhaul would be more appropriate, but maybe not at this point in the offseason. Either way, this simply cannot be swept under the rug.
3. The Team Should Trade For Nick Foles or Sign Phillip Rivers
“Why? We already have a quarterback!” I can hear that now, over the music in my headphones as I type this out.
Simple: Ever since Baker Mayfield’s had a starting position with this team, his role has never, ever been in question. It is true he hasn’t exactly been horrible, but he was a shadow of his rookie self last season, posting inferior statistics and an inferior win total, all across the board. Really though, was anyone going to usurp him last year? Drew Stanton and Garrett Gilbert weren’t exactly the most potent of challengers. Enter a seasoned veteran in the likes of Nick Foles or Phillip Rivers. Granted, neither of them should have any sort of shot at taking the job from Mayfield Week 1, but they’re at least guys with a resume who could push Baker to stay on his toes if he wants to keep his starting job. That type of enforcement could be quite helpful for a guy who has been pretty much untouchable since first taking the field.