NFL Free Agency 2019: Predicting the Cleveland Browns biggest moves

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images /

The 2019 NFL free agency fireworks are about to start, but what will the Cleveland Browns’ biggest moves be to begin the new league year?

The Cleveland Browns are getting close to contention. With a 7-8-1 record in 2018, the Dawg Pound has a solid jumping point for 2019 and beyond. Quarterback Baker Mayfield looks like the real deal, the defense is morphing into something special, and the Browns have pieces all over the field. There’s still work to be done, though.

It’s time for general manager John Dorsey to get aggressive with the Browns roster. With about $90 million in cap space, and a few more gaping holes to patch, the Browns have the power to lure huge free agents and line up massive moves this offseason.

Let’s take a look at what the orange and brown might cook up for Cleveland in 2019 NFL free agency.

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Re-signing safety Damarious Randall

In a steal that will go down in history, the Browns somehow got safety Damarious Randall for DeShone Kizer last year. John Dorsey transmuted the turnover-prone starting quarterback of an 0-16 team into a Pro Bowl level safety last offseason, and now it’s time for Randall to reap the rewards of his great 2018 season.

With 85 tackles and four interceptions last year, Randall was a ball hawk for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Along with Jabrill Peppers, Randall helped Cleveland’s secondary turn into one of the most ball-hungry, turnover-producing units in the NFL. His contract will be up after 2019, and it might be best for the Browns to extend him now. Locking up Randall’s services one year in advance would be a huge get for the Browns and their secondary.

(Probably) letting Breshad Perriman walk

Sometimes, the harsh truth is that keeping a player just isn’t worth it. While you’d like to keep that player’s services for yourself, it’s either too much of a risk, or putting a long-term contract on the table isn’t the best option. Thus could be the case for Breshad Perriman and the Browns.

Perriman was a bargain bin pickup for Cleveland after his first-round flame out in Baltimore. The former UCF receiver never worked out for the Ravens, and his hands were a major problem at the time. Then, he met up with Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens, and his career was reignited in the second half of 2018. Now that he wants a big contract, it might be best for the Browns to stay away.

It’s not that the Browns don’t have the money to pay Perriman what he wants; quite simply, money is no object for them this offseason. Rather, it’s unsure whether Perriman will ever be able to recreate his 2018 renaissance, and the Browns don’t want the dead money of a frankly first-round bust receiver on their books. This isn’t a move, so to speak, but sometimes, free agency is just as much about what the teams don’t do.

A trade for one of the NFL’s best?

Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. And there is a lot of smoke coming out of Berea, OH this week concerning the Browns and New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. At just 26 years old, Beckham has become one of the NFL’s best receivers since making his iconic one-handed catch as a rookie. And in some ways, he might just be the big-time receiver the Browns need to put them over the top.

Baker Mayfield was tremendous as a rookie, throwing a record 27 touchdowns in 2018. But the Browns still lacked the No. 1 wide receiver that is a signature of most great offenses. Rashard Higgins had a career year with Mayfield, and Jarvis Landry was, as always, a solid slot receiver, but the Browns never got that final piece to put them over the top.

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Inserting Beckham into the Browns’ current offense is a serious shot in the arm. With Beckham there to take pressure off of Landry, Higgins, and tight end David Njoku, the Browns could flourish into a bona fide contender. This is a trade rather than a free agency acquisition, but if it happens, it will be one of the biggest offseason exchanges in Browns history.