When teams prepare for the Cleveland Browns, they may not prepare as hard as they do for other teams. You see, many consider the Browns one of the doormats of the NFL. However, that may not be the case in 2017. The Browns are improving a team that was once the laughing stock of the entire NFL.
Gone are the days of illogical moves that make no sense. The front office of the Cleveland Browns, over the past two off-seasons, has made moves that will only improve the organization.
In 2016, the Browns led the NFL in sacks. They gave up a league high 66 sacks in 2016. Therefore, seeing this as an area of high concern the front office addressed the need. With a little over $100 million under the salary cap, the Cleveland Browns upgraded their offensive line. They signed center, JC Tretter, a free agent from the Green Bay Packers. They also signed guard, Kevin Zeitler, a free agent from the Cincinnati Bengals. Both players were major upgrades in an area that was in desperate need.
Then the front office did something you only see in basketball. They traded a draft pick in order to rid a team of a player and their contract. They picked up QB Brock Osweiler from the Houston Texans for a fourth round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. This was Moneyball at work. This also gives the Browns a veteran QB who has starting experience.
Another offensive move that should help improve this team was the additions of free agent WR Kenny Britt and the drafting of TE David Njoku. These are added weapons to go along with the speed of Corey Coleman, Rashard Higgins, and Ricardo Louis. The running game of Isaiah Crowell should keep this offense on the field.
The Cleveland Browns are not going to be a defensive pushover either. Veteran players like Jamie Collins, Joe Haden, and Calvin Pryor should keep this defense in the top half of the league. These players along with the youth of Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, Caleb Brantley, and Carl Nassib will provide the Browns defense with a spark. That is something that this team has not seen in quite some time.
Therefore, you see, the Cleveland Browns are no longer the doormat of the NFL. They will be competitive and probably even surprise some teams in 2017. Playoffs, probably not. Although, I could see this team finishing third in the AFC North. Browns fans have a bright future. Moreover, that future begins now.