The Cleveland Browns are going to be an interesting team in 2022. Much like the Miami Heat when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwayne Wade, the Browns may be the team opposing fans love to hate this year.
The acquisition of QB Deshaun Watson has received the expected, and generally appropriate, backlash from many including Cleveland’s fanbase.
The Browns are also overloaded with talent at every area of the team. The defense has stars Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney on the defensive line, rising star Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at linebacker, Denzel Ward at cornerback and John Johnson III at safety. The offensive line is one of the best in the league, the running back group is the best in the league and the pass catchers are led by Amari Cooper and David Njoku.
With all that talent, Cleveland could be involved in trades leading up to and during training camp. Ian Wharton presented one trade option for each team in the league which ended up including the Browns in a few:
The expected move, trading QB Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers. The trade haul is interesting getting a fifth-round pick and WR Robbie Anderson.
The bigger intrigue is how much salary cap space the Browns will save in the move as that held up the trade during the 2022 NFL draft.
With the team having a lot of big contracts, Cleveland needs to roll over as much salary cap space into next year as possible but adding a receiver and a draft pick for Mayfield is a great return given the timing.
It is important to note that this trade is one that Wharton believes the Philadelphia Eagles should make, not the Browns. GM Andrew Berry’s one year with the Eagles would help trade talks go smoothly.
Hunt’s name has been lightly rumored throughout the offseason especially after the team drafted Jerome Ford. He goes into the last year of his contract as the best backup in the league and a top 10/15 starter-level player.
The return doesn’t make sense for Cleveland unless they don’t believe Jack Conklin will be healthy and that James Hudson III isn’t ready to step in for him.
The other Mayfield trade destination that makes sense is to the Seattle Seahawks. In this case, Wharton has the Browns getting a little higher draft pick and saving a large amount of cap space in the deal.
While getting a draft pick is important, it will be interesting if that pick has conditions connected to it. With the Seahawks, Mayfield would have a chance to soar which should improve whatever compensation Cleveland gets in return.