This week we have Dan Cooksey, Jordan Cohen and Chris Richani answering our round table questions!
What percentage chance do you give Jadeveon Clowney signing with the Browns?
Dan Cooksey – At this point, it has to hover around 40% for myself. While I think the Browns have offered a strong deal to Clowney, the fact that we are hearing about this deal and he has not signed it is not a good sign. He could always come back around and just choose money over everything, but not sure that’s ultimately where he will end up. Supposedly, Clowney still thinks he can be a #1 pass rusher and does not want to take a back seat to anyone, which Clowney would clearly be the #2 in Cleveland. All that being said, if Clowney does come to the realization that maybe he is not as valuable as a player as he thinks he is, then he could choose Cleveland in the end of the saga.
Jordan Cohen – I think the Browns ultimately are fairly indifferent about the Clowney situation. ESPN’s pass-rush-win-rate has Clowney as one of the best pass rushers in the league, despite his relatively low sack numbers. So while I think the front office likes Clowney, I’m also not sure they are thrilled with the prospect of paying two edge rushers substantial money over the next few years. Still, it seems like the Browns are really the only team making an offer, so I will guess that the team has a 50% of landing Clowney.
Chris Richani – 40%. A Clowney acquisition would definitely accompany a parting of ways with Olivier Vernon, and in a year with so many uncertainties and variables, I think the Browns would like to have their core players set and working through virtual programs as soon and consistently as possible. The longer this stalemate drags on, the more likely I think the Browns and Clowney go their separate ways. As an elite edge setter, Clowney is obviously a tremendous fit in a division that runs through Lamar Jackson. This may tempt the Browns to exercise more patience than I would otherwise expect, but if the Clowney/Cleveland marriage happens I would expect it to happen within the next 6 weeks.
Do you imagine that this will be Kareem Hunt’s last season in Cleveland?
Dan Cooksey – With Nick Chubb’s contract coming due and the relative ease that outside zone teams have found rushers in the NFL, I think it has to be. Chubb will be one of the top paid RB’s in the NFL next year and the Browns will be in the midst of a cap crunch with Garrett being on a new contract. Some players and luxuries are going to have to be cut and I expect Hunt to be chiefly among them if he has a good season. And there is always the potential that Kareem ends up self destructing off the field and ending his NFL career. I don’t think his future is in Cleveland unless he’s willing to sacrifice a lot of money.
Jordan Cohen – Absolutely. I actually think Hunt may struggle a bit to find playing time this year. He’s not a fantastic zone runner and, while he is a very good blocker, he’s not as good as Andy Janovic. I think Hunt is mainly a gadget player this year, Chubb carries most of the load, and the Browns replace Hunt in the 2021 draft.
Chris Richani – I do. I believe this season will be the mutually beneficial conclusion of the Kareem Hunt in Cleveland experiment. From the Browns’ perspective, Hunt should provide a pop out of the backfield especially in the passing game and make the most of his chances in the run game. From Hunt’s standpoint, he should get a full season of opportunities to show that he still has lead back ability and versatility while keeping tread on his tires as merely a complementary back to Nick Chubb. In hopefully a post-COVID 2021 offseason, Hunt should be able to find a team in need of a workhorse to complete his return to an elite every down guy.
Other than Baker, what player has the most to prove in 2020?
Dan Cooksey – For me, it’s Myles Garrett. While 2019 was on the way to being a dominating year, he had another problem that kept him off the field. Garrett has shown flashes but has always had little problems that have left him just missing on his full potential. Myles has all the potential to be the Defensive Player of the Year and yet has not met those high expectations that come with being the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft. Garrett is close and if he can stay on the field for 16 games, I fully expect him to hit that ceiling, but he needs to finally come through for the Browns this year. The time is now for Myles Garrett to take his spot among the great NFL pass rushers.
Jordan Cohen – Odell Beckham Jr. The Browns have a lot of rookie deals finishing over the next two years and they will need cap space. Odell eats up too much long-term cap space to be lackluster.
Chris Richani – I’ll throw a wild-card in here with Larry Ogunjobi. After a very impressive 2018 season of wrecking havoc with his ability to generate inside pressure despite playing through severe injuries, a healthy Ogunjobi seemed to have a more modest 2019 campaign. The defensive line was a highly touted group entering the year, yet the unit rarely put it all together to unlock the game-breaking performances they are clearly capable of executing. A big part of that should be Ogunjobi’s return to his 2018 trajectory.