I fielded a number of related questions this week, some by way of a Twitter-callout for questions for the Civilized Barking Podcast and a few simply in normal dialog. The questions melded collectively had been basically this: Does the results of Monday’s sport vs. the Bengals decide if the Browns will actively be sellers on the commerce deadline?

The straightforward reply could be sure. If the Browns lose a fifth straight sport and slip to 2-6, they’re enjoying for subsequent 12 months (although they’re nonetheless enjoying for December and the debut of Deshaun Watson). The protection clearly has holes, this week and going ahead, and the Browns don’t have a first-round choose till 2025 from the Watson commerce. At 2-6 and out of playoff competition, it’s a complete lot simpler to doubtlessly transfer off an vital participant on this 12 months’s staff to begin planning for a greater future.

There are few straightforward solutions when the Browns try to get themselves out of third place, although. Barring an unexpected harm this Sunday that may make some Super Bowl contender want a working again, it’s in all probability protected to say that any commerce talks that may really result in a deal getting finished forward of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. commerce deadline have been happening for days or extra doubtless weeks. The Browns have lengthy recognized that they’ve a call to make on Kareem Hunt in some unspecified time in the future earlier than subsequent March. Though a number of individuals with data of the conversations confirmed to The Athletic that a number of groups have referred to as the Browns to inquire about Hunt, there’s no indication {that a} deal is imminent — or that the Browns are even keen to commerce Hunt.

There have additionally been stories that groups have inquired about cornerback Greedy Williams, who’s enjoying as a backup within the remaining 12 months of his rookie contract. That’s one other scenario that the Browns doubtless could be keen to discover, however wouldn’t be thought of urgent. It’s laborious to think about Williams being within the Browns’ plans previous this season, however Williams continues to be a younger participant at a premium place. If some staff provided, say, a sixth-round choose, would that even start to curiosity the Browns? It feels just like the staff could be higher off protecting Williams for the remainder of the season, evaluating his improvement and sustaining the primary likelihood to barter with him within the offseason.

Hunt went public along with his want to get a brand new contract along with his hometown staff earlier this summer season, however there’s no indication the edges are shut. The Browns have already got main monetary commitments for subsequent season even with the wage cap set to rise, and Hunt won’t ever be the No. 1 working again right here. But Hunt’s skillset is likely to be a super match with the sort of offense the Browns wish to run as soon as Watson settles in, and the Browns clearly are higher with each Nick Chubb and Hunt within the backfield than they’re with only one.

This comes right down to worth, each how the Browns worth Hunt for his age-28 season (and past) and what they might realistically get in return for Hunt in the event that they don’t wish to re-sign him — or don’t suppose they will. Would a fourth-round choose be sufficient? Do the Browns suppose they might ultimately get Hunt and his illustration to agree to a different team-friendly contract in early 2023? With the Browns’ current observe file of mid-round draft picks, it’s laborious to see long-term defensive fixes coming from something the staff might purchase in dealing Hunt now. If Hunt leaves after the season by way of free company and the Browns ultimately lose greater than they acquire by way of the league’s compensatory choose components, the Browns might find yourself with a 2024 draft choose.

Read extra under:

(Photo: Jessica Rapfogel / USA Today)

Source link