With Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown both potentially available, the Cleveland Browns have the perfect storm necessary to reunite the lethal duo.
Perhaps no NFL team has seen as quick of an in-season turnaround as the Cleveland Browns. They went from winning one darn game over two seasons and starting the season 2-5-1 to nearly running the table to make the playoffs, finishing with a 7-8-1 record. 2017 first overall pick quarterback Baker Mayfield transformed the Browns into a legitimate team. Now it’s his team’s duty to surround him with as much talent as possible.
For years, the Dawg Pound has been begging to be the team players want to go to. As crazy as it might sound, they’ve suddenly become that team. Armed with over $80 million of cap space and not many roster spots to fill, the Browns have what it takes to reunite the NFL’s version of The Avengers – Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.
Bell is the most likely option. After all, of the two stars, he’s the only one who is definitely available. At the same time though, he’s the more volatile of the two. Bell hasn’t played in over a year. Cleveland might be getting the most motivated man on the planet with a grudge against everybody who isn’t on his team. Or they might be getting an out of shape running back whose best years are behind him. Cleveland should take that risk.
Naysayers might say Nick Chubb, who nearly had a 1,000 yard season, is the future. And, in some ways, he is. However, with all due respect to Chubb, he’s not the dynamic game changer Bell has proven to be. He would be a perfect complement, as he’s more of a power runner. Together, Bell and Chubb could give Cleveland one of the scariest, if not the scariest, backfield duos in the NFL.
Brown might not even be possible, depending on how the latest saga between the star receiver and the Steelers plays out. But if Cleveland has the opportunity to get him, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t go all-in to try to get him.
Jarvis Landry is the perfect slot receiver for Mayfield. Antonio Callaway has shown flashes of brilliance. But the Browns still lack a true number one receiver. Mayfield deserves one and there won’t be a better one available than Brown.
Getting both would be expensive. However, Cleveland has over $80 million of cap space this offseason. Let’s say both want $20 million a year. The team would still have over $40 million to upgrade their 21st ranked defense. More than enough money to add a difference maker at linebacker and some depth.
Cleveland finally has their guy in Mayfield. He has the swagger that matches the Dawg Pound’s passion. And, most importantly, Mayfield can back it up. Recent NFL history tells us it’s easier to win with a cheap quarterback than a more expensive one.
Cleveland has gone long enough without a winner. They need to make a statement to their fans and to the rest of the NFL with a huge offseason. Their best chance to win is in the next four years while Baker’s still under his rookie deal. Bell and Brown would give them the chance to bring a Super Bowl to Cleveland.