Browns trading even just a few spots for a receiver in the NFL Draft would be a wise move
BEREA, Ohio — Browns general manager Andrew Berry wouldn’t paint himself into a corner when it comes to signing a wide receiver during his pre-draft press conference Friday. And why would he? The Browns’ first pick in the draft is No. 44 overall, so they have little control over what will and won’t be available, especially with multiple teams ahead of them, some with multiple picks, requiring receivers.
On the other hand, the wide receiver market this offseason took a rocket ship into space. Davante Adams has signed a five-year, $140 million contract in Las Vegas. Tyreek Hill got four years and $120 million from Miami. Stefon Digg’s new Buffalo expansion earns him an annual average of $24 million.
According to Over the Capthere are nine catchers with an annual average of $20 million or more, including new Browns catcher Amari Cooper.
That number will only increase with potential extensions looming like DK Metcalf, AJ Brown and Terry McLaurin.
Now consider the No. 44 overall pick in last year’s draft, cornerback Kelvin Joseph, has a cap of $1,768,446 and his highest cap on his four-year rookie contract comes last. year at $2,475,824.
So, yeah, there’s a ton of value in taking a receiver at No. 44 overall. (And, yes, there’s similar value in taking on an edge rusher.) The cost control of a rookie contract is huge, especially at premium positions.
There’s value for every team in the market for a wide receiver, whether in the first or second round, to take an impact player early in the draft to a position where salaries are skyrocketing. It will never quite match the value of hitting a quarterback with a rookie contract, but it becomes more valuable each time a player signs a new contract.
That’s why it might be wise for the Browns to consider moving up to land the type of player who could become the type of wide receiver who will benefit from the booming contract market in that position – but not before a moment.
Surely you can’t find this player at #44, can you?
Consider this: Of the nine receivers who average $20 million or more a year, five were selected after the first round. Adams was selected 53rd overall, Chris Godwin and Keenan Allen in the third round, and Diggs in the fifth round. Hill was a fifth-round pick, largely because of his off-court issues.
Brown, in contention for a big overtime and one of the league’s top receivers, was a second-round pick, as was Metcalf.
Now consider the teams that, at least on the surface, could benefit from the addition of a wide receiver. The Jets could use one for Zach Wilson and they pick four times before the Browns mark the clock. The Giants have two picks ahead of the Browns. Houston has three choices to add a receiver for Davis Mills before the Browns get their turn.
Then there are teams like Green Bay and Kansas City that will surely be in the market for one with their first-round picks and there are plenty more.
So if Thursday night ends and the Browns have, say, three receivers they really like on the board, Berry shouldn’t hesitate to get aggressive and go get his guy – whether it’s George Pickens, Skyy Moore or a another receiver who could slip to Friday. The teams dropped Thursday in front of them will also circle the remaining receivers, and Berry should pounce before they can.
There’s a universe where the Browns like one of the receivers that might be there around No. 78, which is fine, but otherwise a trade is the move.
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