3 Browns Trade Targets After Week 2

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2021

3 Browns Trade Targets After Week 2

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    Nick Cammett/Getty Images

    The Cleveland Browns find themselves in an offensive predicament heading into Week 3. 

    Odell Beckham Jr. has not played in the first two games as he gets back to 100 percent following his torn ACL from last season, and Jarvis Landry was placed on the injured reserve list with a knee injury on Tuesday. 

    If Beckham is not active for Week 3, the Browns will have Anthony Schwartz, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Rashard Higgins available as their wide receivers. 

    Cleveland could deal with its absences by relying on its strong ground game more and calling on a few of its tight ends to make up for Beckham and Landry's absences to beat the Chicago Bears

    In the long term, the Browns should take a look into the trade market to find some experienced replacements for their top two receivers. 

    If Beckham eventually returns to his pre-injury form, Cleveland will be in better shape, but it needs to prepare now for the worst-case scenario of having its top two wideouts unavailable or not at 100 percent for quite some time. 

James Washington

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    Making a trade within the AFC North may be tough for the Browns, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have an ideal trade candidate in James Washington.

    The 25-year-old fell down the depth chart due to the emergence of Chase Claypool last season, and he is now fourth on the roster behind Claypool, Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster. 

    Washington caught two passes for 10 yards in Pittsburgh's first two games. Each of the team's top three wideouts had at least 14 targets from Ben Roethlisberger

    The addition of tight end Pat Freiermuth to the passing attack likely hurts the Oklahoma State product's offensive snap count since the Steelers have to get the rookie and Eric Ebron on the field. 

    Cleveland does not need a clear-cut No. 1 receiver yet because Beckham is in the final stages of his ACL recovery, but it could use a No. 2 or No. 3 guy to replace Landry's production.

    If Landry comes back later in the season, the Browns would have a deeper wide receiver corps to challenge the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC.

    Washington is only two years removed from a 735-yard season and had five touchdown catches last season. He could play a useful role in the Cleveland offense if a trade can be made with a rival. 

Jamison Crowder

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    If the Browns want more experience at wide receiver, they could look at Jamison Crowder. 

    The 28-year-old did not dress for the New York Jets' Week 2 matchup with the New England Patriots, even though he was cleared to play after a groin injury.

    Instead, the Jets decided to go with rookie Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios, who leads Corey Davis by 19 yards on the team's receiving chart. 

    If Crowder does not have a place in the New York setup, the Browns should make a call to land an insurance option behind their top players. He had 699 receiving yards and six touchdowns for a struggling Jets team in 2020 and has 50 or more receptions in five of his six NFL seasons. 

    The Duke product's experience could be the perfect complement to the youthfulness of Schwartz and Peoples-Jones, who have been used as deep threats by Baker Mayfield. 

    A potential trade for Crowder would also bring another veteran into the locker room who could help with the stressors that come with the high expectations surrounding Kevin Stefanski's squad. 

Jaylon Smith

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    Jeff Lewis/Associated Press

    An attempt at trading for Jaylon Smith would be a swing-for-the-fences move by the Cleveland front office. 

    At the moment, the Browns have three linebackers on the IR. Anthony Walker was the latest player to receive that designation due to a hamstring injury. 

    Cleveland has some solid players in Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki at linebacker, but the potential addition of Smith could take its defense to the next level.

    The Browns are already set up front with Myles Garrett, but if they could bring in another tenacious defender to the front seven, their championship hopes could rise. 

    Acquiring Smith will not be an easy task for any team since he is under contract until 2025. Dallas is within its rights to ask for a significant return since it dished out a six-year, $68 million contract to the 26-year-old.

    If Dallas is looking to get out of Smith's contract and play Micah Parsons more at linebacker, Cleveland should at least take notice since every defensive weapon will be needed to slow down Buffalo and Kansas City.