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Browns roster: Up to 5 starting spots up for grabs; Could inform NFL draft, free agency

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By: Jared Mueller

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Rumors will likely revolve around these positions, salary cap space and draft picks could be used to fill needs

Rumors around the NFL are much quieter than they have been in some time. The combination of the huge increase in salary cap space and the concerns around betting markets have most rumors on lockdown.

We are to believe that the Cleveland Browns are interested in making a big move for the right type of player (young, position of importance) and many believe that they will also be looking at wide receivers. We also know that the Browns have not spent money on depth positions under GM Andrew Berry.

Based on the past, that fits one of Cleveland’s guardrails.

If Berry is not going to spend on depth, that means we need to understand what starting positions could be available for 2024 that the team might spend on in NFL free agency or using their two Day 2 picks on in the NFL draft.

As currently constructed, the following will start for the offense next year:

  • QB Deshaun Watson
  • WRs Amari Cooper & Elijah Moore
  • OL Jedrick Willis, Joel Bitonio, Ethan Pocic, Wyatt Teller & either Jack Conklin/Dawand Jones
  • TE David Njoku

With Nick Chubb’s injury, the starting running back spot is up in the air. If the team thinks he will be ready, the 10th position on offense is filled. That leaves either another receiver or tight end as the 11th starter.

As currently constructed, the following will start for the defense in 2024:

  • DL Myles Garrett, Dalvin Tomlinson
  • LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
  • CBs Denzel Ward, Martin Emerson, Greg Newsome II
  • Safeties Juan Thornhill, Grant Delpit

Upfront, with Za’Darius Smith, Shelby Harris, Jordan Elliott and Maurice Hurst all set for free agency, two starting roles are currently available with Ogbo Okoronkwo a key rotational edge player. Linebacker, with Anthony Walker Jr. and Sione Takitaki also heading toward the free agent market, also has an opening.

Five starting positions up for grabs. While any number of them could be filled by recent draft picks (Cedric Tillman, Siaki Ika, Isaiah McGuire, Alex Wright), Berry could invest resources in all five.

Projecting, the Browns could look to bring back Harris and Hurst on smaller deals while paying Smith a healthy salary to return. There are a number of veteran linebackers in free agency, on top of Walker and Takitaki, that could step into the role next to JOK for a relatively cheap deal as well.

That would give Cleveland a chance to invest in younger players on offense through the draft. Adding a receiver (or tight end) and running back early who are ready to play right away would be a big boost.

Given their rumored interest in DT Christian Wilkins, the Browns could also hope their younger ends can step up into Smith’s role. Given the price of receiver contracts, it might be tough for Berry to find one worthy of signing while linebackers and running backs are, mostly, a dime or dozen.

While it is tough to predict what moves will be made specifically, it seems likely that Cleveland will fill their starter needs by:

  • 1 expensive signing
  • 2-3 veterans at lower cost
  • 1-2 draft picks

Do you agree with those five needs for the Browns? Do you think they are able to fill all of them this offseason?

Originally posted on Dawgs By Nature – All Posts