Had the Browns been able to land Alex Smith, they would have strongly considered trading out of the No. 1 spot. The Browns tried to give the Chiefs one of their three second-round picks for the quarterback, and had Kansas City not chosen Washington’s offer, the Browns would have “aggressively shopped” their top pick, per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. This would have been an interesting strategy given what’s transpired over the past two drafts in Cleveland, with the currently woeful franchise passing on Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, but the Browns do have the No. 4 pick as well. That could be used on a quarterback, and Miller hears the team is still considering trading down from one of its two top-five spots (but not both). The Browns have been connected to four quarterbacks at No. 1, with newly hired consultant Scot McCloughan being a staunch Baker Mayfield proponent.
Here’s more from the draft and a look at some Western-division franchises:
- Neither the Giants nor the Colts are committed to staying at Nos. 2 and 3 in the draft. Both picks are for sale, Miller notes. The likely scenario coming out of last season was a Giants quarterback pick, since they have not held a top-five choice in 14 years, but new management has come out with effusive Eli Manning praise. The Giants trading out of a possible franchise-quarterback spot would be interesting given Manning’s age and their rare opportunity atop a draft. The Colts would make more sense as a trade-down team, with numerous needs after a season that saw them rank 31st on offense and 30th on defense. Andrew Luck‘s murky timeline notwithstanding, Indianapolis is not a threat to take a first-round quarterback and could well leverage other teams who are interested in doing so.
- Miller did not mention the Broncos as a trade-down candidate from No. 5, but what happens in March will determine how they operate. If Kirk Cousins is set on establishing a new NFL salary threshold, the Broncos may need to do more than trade or cut Aqib Talib to clear sufficient funding. While the Broncos would have $37MM-plus in cap space after jettisoning Talib, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post writes they might also consider putting Emmanuel Sanders on the block. Soon to be 31 and coming off his worst season as a Bronco, one limited by an ankle injury, Sanders stands to count $10.9MM against the Broncos’ 2018 cap. Sanders’ age and 2017 season aside, the franchise has experienced rampant trouble finding wideouts since its successful 2014 Sanders signing and Cousins choosing the Broncos would likely be partially because of their veteran core. A Sanders departure would deplete that setup.
- Justin Britt‘s Seahawks extension contains a $5MM option bonus that is expected to be picked up, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes. Britt signed a three-year, $27MM extension last year. The Seahawks not picking up this bonus, however, would only void the final year of the contract (2020) and shift the money to a different year. If the option is not picked up, the $5MM from 2020 would be added to Britt’s 2018 base salary, thus increasing it from $2.75MM to $7.75MM, per Henderson. Additionally, Britt’s $2.75MM ’18 base became fully guaranteed on Friday.
- The NFL is going to look into the matter of Reuben Foster‘s arrest, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Police responded to a disturbance call made at 9:15am Sunday, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports. The 49ers linebacker was released from jail at around 8:35pm CT on $75K bail, per Barrows. He was booked on charges of domestic violence and possession of an assault rifle, Barrows reports.