During the early waves of NFL free agency, the Cleveland Browns acquired two notable veterans in tight end Austin Hooper and right tackle Jack Conklin, but the team could make some moves on the trade market as well.
Going back to the 2019 trade deadline, then-Browns general manager John Dorsey engaged in talks to acquire Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams to no avail. Yet the current regime may carry the baton in the hopes of landing the seven-time Pro Bowler.
Cleveland parted ways with multiple safeties. Juston Burris, Eric Murray, Morgan Burnett and Damarious Randall took a decent number of snaps at the position last season. Unless the club re-signs Randall, none of those players will return for the 2020 campaign.
After signing Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo, what's the Browns' interest in acquiring another impact player at the position?
Since Cleveland's disappointing 2019 season, trade rumors have swirled around wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Is there truth in the notion a move is on the horizon?
We'll check in on the hot-topic Browns rumors a little more than a week into the new league year.
LT Trent Williams Still a Trade Target
Conklin will likely supplant Chris Hubbard at right tackle, but the Browns have a vacancy on the left side, where Greg Robinson started 14 out of 15 games in 2019.
According to TMZ, border patrol arrested Robinson for alleged possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, which likely takes him out of the Browns' future plans.
The coaching staff could experiment with Hubbard on the left or attempt to acquire a proven player at the position. Cleveland's interest in Williams hasn't waned, but he or the Redskins must adjust expectations on compensation in order to put a potential trade in motion, per Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot.
"The Browns explored trading for Williams after the Redskins gave him permission to seek a deal two weeks ago," Cabot wrote. "He is still a possibility if the Redskins lower their asking price and/or if Williams is willing to accept less in an extension."
According to NBC Sports' JP Finlay, Washington wants a second-round pick for Williams, but the front office may be flexible with the return value.
"For the Redskins and Williams, that could mean that conversations centered around a second-round pick evolve into a package that doesn't contain a second-rounder but delivers similar value," Finlay wrote.
The Browns could assemble an intriguing proposal, which includes their two third-round picks, but the front office must consider Williams' push for a new deal.
The Arizona Cardinals signed left tackle D.J. Humphries to an extension. He averages $14.58 million annually. Because of Williams' Pro Bowl accolades and solid pass protection, giving up fewer than three sacks in each term between 2015 and 2018, per STATs (via the Washington Post), he could command north of $15 million per year.
That's a steep price for a 31-year-old who missed 13 games between 2015 and 2018 before a cancerous growth on his scalp sidelined him for the entire 2019 campaign.
S Anthony Harris Is Too Expensive
During the legal tampering period, the Browns contacted the Minnesota Vikings about franchise-tagged safety Anthony Harris, per Cabot.
Nonetheless, the Browns went on to sign Joseph and Sendejo. The former has great potential as a 2016 first-round pick, and the latter crossed paths with head coach Kevin Stefanski in Minnesota.
"In addition to a source telling Cleveland.com that the Vikings would want at least a third-round pick for Harris and probably a second, he'd also likely want double-digit millions on an extension," Cabot wrote. "Both things are too rich for the Browns right now."
Harris had a strong 2019 campaign, logging six interceptions and 11 pass breakups, but he's going to command a massive deal following a breakout season. Instead of giving up draft capital and paying top dollar for a player on a one-year contract, team brass seems to prefer its stable of safeties with Joseph and Sendejo at the forefront.
'No Truth' to San Francisco 49ers-Odell Beckham Jr. Trade Rumors
The Browns have been direct about their intention to keep Beckham on the roster, but the trade rumors won't go away.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, general manager Andrew Berry addressed the rumors, per Cabot:
"We view him as part of our future. Kevin and I both have had really good conversations about our expectations for him and we expect him to adapt to those moving forward. We're excited about the future with Odell, excited about what he's going to do this fall."
Compared to his first three years with the New York Giants, Beckham had an average 2019 campaign, logging 74 catches for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns with a career-low 55.6 percent catch rate.
The Browns expected more from Beckham, but the offense as a whole fell short on expectations, ranking 22nd in scoring and yards.
With that said, the new regime doesn't have a deal with the San Francisco 49ers involving the three-time Pro Bowl wideout, per The Athletic's Jay Glazer: "Nope. No truth to that. Sorry, gang. I know the 49ers loved him, but they are trying to rebuild draft capital, not give up draft capital."
The Browns should hang on to Beckham, with Jarvis Landry on the mend from offseason hip surgery. The offense will feature a solid tight end duo in David Njoku and Hooper, but the team would be wise to feature their star wideout while the starter opposite him plays himself into game shape after a significant procedure.