Stefanski: Browns 'Good' Despite Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry's Contracts

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2021

Cleveland Browns wide receivers Jarvis Landry (80) and Odell Beckham Jr. (13) stand on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski believes the team can make improvements this offseason without offloading or restructuring the contracts of Odell Beckham or Jarvis Landry.

"I think we can, yeah," Stefanski said on ESPN Radio's Keyshawn, Will and Zubin (h/t Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). He continued:

"I think you don't want to be so dogmatic about it and say, 'All right. We have to have this number of receivers and this number of tight ends and this running back.' I think you go with what you have and you make sure that you're putting yourself in position to field a competitive roster for a bunch of years moving forward.

"So, yeah, I think we're in a good spot. The easy part to say is, 'Hey, just give us more players. Give us three more great players on the offensive side, and give us three players on the defensive side, and we're going to spend this amount on each guy.' I think we have a plan. We'll follow through with that plan."

Beckham and Landry are set to take up $30.3 million on the Browns' cap for the 2020 season. Cleveland could save $15.8 million by trading or releasing Beckham and $11.8 million by moving on from Landry.

Over the Cap projects the Browns to have $20.6 million in cap space, which should give them enough room to maneuver without getting rid of their top wideouts. One or both could restructure their contracts to give the Browns a little more immediate space, but that would make it harder for Cleveland to move on after the 2021 season.

The Browns essentially have no obligation to Landry or Beckham and could cut bait at a moment's notice. Neither Beckham nor Landry has played up to his price tag, but the Browns may be smarter to prioritize long-term flexibility rather than renegotiate.

Beckham recorded just 23 receptions for 319 yards and three touchdowns in 2020, missing nine games because of injury. After topping 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three NFL seasons, Beckham hasn't topped 1,100 yards or six scores since.

While Beckham is still just 28, it's fair to wonder whether his best football is already in the past. Landry has largely been solid in three years with the Browns, topping at least 70 catches and 800 yards each season. However, his cap hit is closer to a starter's rather than that of a WR2 who doesn't possess gamebreaking speed.