The Browns may have to break the bank next year
Scrap last year, erase it from memory. The 2019 campaign for the Cleveland Browns was one filled with multiple dumpster fires, starting with a head coach in Freddie Kitchens that was in way over his head. Despite that, players like pass rusher Myles Garrett (pre-suspension) and Nick Chubb were still near the top of the league in their respective categories.
However, players like quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and safety Damarious Randall did not find their groove last year. While Mayfield put up one of the most historic rookie seasons of all time in 2018, he took a massive step back last season, throwing for 21 interceptions (while Mayfield must improve, most can be pinned onto the lap of Kitchens and quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley).
There is now a new sheriff in town in Cleveland, as Kevin Stefanski, who has led the Minnesota Vikings’ offense to new heights over the last two seasons, has taken over the reigns. John Dorsey was also ousted as general manager (we all know what “mutually parted ways” means), and now Andrew Berry takes over as GM as well.
Berry’s first task as general manager was free agency, where he landed the likes of offensive tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Austin Hooper. He did, however, also sign numerous players to one year deals; some veteran rentals, some players looking to use a short term contract to earn a longer term one for more money with a solid season in a change of scenery.
The Browns also have a number of players entering their contract seasons this offseason. While Myles Garrett is not entering his contract season, he will almost certainly see a massive payday come his way either this offseason or next. In fact, not a single soul will be surprised if he becomes the highest paid pass rusher in the game of football.
However Garrett is not where this article focuses, but rather four other names entering contract years who could see a substantial pay increase with a solid 2020 campaign under Stefanski and his staff. Here are four guys, either current Browns in the last year of their contract or young free agents who signed one-year deals in Cleveland, who could play themselves into a wealthy contract this year.