The Cleveland Browns have had a unique offseason primarily due to their own decisions. The organization’s history says they can’t do anything normally and it was on display in 2022:
Trade for WR Amari Cooper
Cut WR Jarvis Landry, TE Austin Hooper and OL J.C. Tretter
Trade for QB Deshaun Watson despite lingering legal issues that, eventually, led to an 11-game suspension.
Trade QB Baker Mayfield before knowing the outcome of Watson’s discipline
Signed DT Taven Bryan for one season
Despite already trading their first-rounder, they traded down out of the second round leaving their first pick to come in the third round
Brought back DE Jadeveon Clowney on a one-year deal
The team kept RB Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson despite amazing depth at the position and each set for free agency next year
Stuck with WR Anthony Schwartz despite significant struggles catching the football
Claimed QB Kellen Mond despite his significant struggles during the preseason in a similar system in Minnesota
It was the final move that really helped crystalize the interesting dynamic in Cleveland.
The Browns have spent all offseason making win-now moves followed by moves that are about patience and the future. Cooper, Clowney, Hunt, Johnson and Bryan were all moves focused solely for the 2022 season.
With Schwartz, trading Mayfield, releasing all the veterans, trading down and, finally, claiming Mond were all about development. HC Kevin Stefanski made it clear this week that Mond was about the future:
— Fred Greetham (@FredGreetham9) August 31, 2022
There is nothing wrong with trying to thread the needle especially given Watson’s suspension but what could the 2022 roster look like if the focus was all about winning right now? What could the future look like if the team did or didn’t make the moves that were focused on the upcoming season?
Threading the needle of the now and the future can work out but the moves seem to contradict themselves at some level.