New faces: WR Odell Beckham Jr., DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Olivier Vernon, RB Kareem Hunt, CB Greedy Williams, S Morgan Burnett, S Eric Murray
They’re gone: G Kevin Zeitler, S Jabrill Peppers, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, RB Duke Johnson, QB Tyrod Taylor, LB Jamie Collins, WR Breshad Perriman, TE Darren Fells, OT Desmond Harrison
2019 snapshot: John Dorsey sure isn’t shy about swinging for the fences. With an already impressive roster, the Browns’ GM heaped on more talent this offseason, albeit taking some risks in the process.
How risky those moves prove to be might depend on Dorsey’s first decision, which was to hire Freddie Kitchens as head coach. The former RBs coach and interim offensive coordinator was a somewhat surprising choice, but he provides continuity for second-year QB Baker Mayfield. Now, can Kitchens manage all of Cleveland’s personalities?
Beckham’s talent far outweighs the headaches he creates, and his acquisition could be the single most impactful of the offseason. The compensation (pick Nos. 17 and 95, plus Peppers) was a bargain, and if Beckham and college teammate Jarvis Landry feed off each other, the move will look even better.
Dorsey also added disruption up front by inking Richardson (three years, $37 million) and trading for Vernon, and he nabbed one of the draft’s top cornerbacks in Williams despite losing draft capital in the deal for Beckham.
Trading Zeitler (for Vernon) could hurt the offensive line, and it’s concerning that 2018 second-rounder Austin Corbett hasn’t seized the job at right guard. Trusting Greg Robinson to hold up for a whole season at left tackle is bold, though he performed well in the second half of 2018. Hunt’s addition also was risky, but the payoff could be huge if the Pro Bowl selection can stay on the field.
Get to know… LB Genard Avery
A fifth-round pick in 2018, Avery flashed on the edge as a rookie, collecting 4.5 sacks and 14 QB hits in 684 snaps (58.1 percent). His versatility as a rusher or cover man should fit well in Steve Wilks’ zone-blitz-heavy scheme.
Worth the investment?
-Everyone with a dollar is ready to buy the Browns, but at what cost? They’re no longer a value bet, as books have swung the pendulum to reflect the amount of buy-in they’re seeing in Cleveland.
-Mayfield also looks to be well past his value in the MVP race, as his +1200 odds are tied for third after Patrick Mahomes (+500) and Carson Wentz (+900). There isn’t much value to be had there.
Bottom line: It’s hard to argue with a team that added so much talent and has a young, rising quarterback. If Kitchens proves to be the right hire, this is a grand slam.