Browns Rumors

Browns Select Baker Mayfield No. 1 Overall

The Browns have a new franchise quarterback, as Cleveland has selected Oklahoma signal-caller Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

At various points in the pre-draft process, the Browns had reportedly been eyeing other quarterbacks, such as USC’s Sam Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Instead, they’ve gone with a former Heisman Trophy winner in Mayfield in an effort to solidify their quarterback position for years to come.

Cleveland, of course, has been trying and failing to land a long-term passer for some time, and notably passed on prospects such as Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson in recent drafts. With a new general manager in place, and the first and fourth overall picks at their disposal, the Browns always seemed likely to use a top selection on a quarterback.

Mayfield, a former walk-on at both Texas Tech and Oklahoma, is a favorite of many in the analytic community, and posted at 3,700 yards and 35 touchdowns in each of his three campaigns for the Sooners. An excellent passer from the pocket, Mayfield stands at just over six feet tall.

The Browns acquired Tyrod Taylor from the Bills earlier this offseason, and also signed veteran backup Drew Stanton, so Mayfield isn’t expected to begin the 2018 season as the club’s starter. Cleveland has pledged to bring its next quarterback along slowly, but Mayfield could conceivably see the field as the year progresses.

As the first overall pick, Mayfield will sign a four-year, fully guaranteed contract that comes with a fifth-year option for the 2022 seasons. Mayfield’s deal should be worth nearly $33MM, per Over the Cap, including a $22MM signing bonus and a 2018 cap charge of roughly $5.9MM.

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Poll: Who Will Browns Take At No. 1 Overall?

In one of the wilder lead-ups to a draft in many years, the Browns have been connected to several players with their No. 1 overall pick. The quarterback-desperate franchise is almost certain to announce its expected Tyrod Taylor successor tonight, but the buildup to that moment has been a process featuring many twists and turns.

Having bypassed Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson the past two years, the Browns have now been linked to three quarterbacks at No. 1. The latest could be one of the most unique first-overall picks in memory.

The Browns are now strongly connected to Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner and a player who did not appear in the top half of the first round of Todd McShay’s first offseason mock draft. But John Dorsey brought on former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan as a consultant before the draft, and the longtime scouting guru has been an outspoken proponent of the polarizing Oklahoma-developed quarterback. The news the Browns will take Mayfield at No. 1 emerged this week, and that rumor is rapidly gaining steam.

However, the Browns’ previous debate was believed to be a two-horse race between Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. Dorsey has a history of selecting big-armed passers or being affiliated with organizations which have done so, most recently pulling the trigger on Patrick Mahomes in his final draft as Chiefs GM. Viewed as a high-ceiling, low-floor prospect, Allen would represent that kind of bold choice. A report earlier this week indicated Cleveland was down to the Wyoming prodigy or the fast-rising Mayfield.

Darnold has gone from a player viewed as arguably the best combination of production and upside to one that may fall out of the top two and be there for the Jets at No. 3. The Jets scheduled a Darnold visit once they began to sense the USC product falling to them was a legitimate possibility.

The Browns have also been linked to Saquon Barkley at No. 1. While Barkley is viewed as the top running back and possibly the No. 1 overall player in this prospect pool, it’s hard to believe the Browns would again bypass their chance at landing a possible franchise quarterback.

They have not been closely tied to Josh Rosen during this pre-draft stretch, and the latest on a trade-down occurrence is that line of thinking could transpire with the Browns’ No. 4 pick rather than their No. 1 choice.

So, which passer will be bound for northeast Ohio? Is the Mayfield surge legitimate or a massive smokescreen operation? Does Allen’s upside, the unearthing of several tweets from his high school days notwithstanding, warrant this kind of an investment? Or should the Browns take the player they’ve been most connected to in Darnold with the top pick? How about a trade-down scenario? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

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Baker Mayfield-To-Browns "Is Happening"

  • The Browns taking Baker Mayfield at No. 1 would be a surprise and could change the Broncos‘ draft outlook. Of the big four, Mayfield and Sam Darnold are the only ones the Broncos take if they’re still on the board at No. 5, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. If Mayfield does go to the Browns, Darnold would be a consideration for the Giants — if they stick at No. 2 — and the Jets’ interest in the USC passer hasn’t been much of a secret. And it’s possible the Bills could move up to the No. 4 spot as well, so the Broncos could be set to go with a non-QB at No. 5 or trade back with a quarterback-seeking team.
  • While this offseason produced little to indicate the Browns would go with Mayfield, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein tweets we are hours away from that scenario unfolding. Zierlein tweets Mayfield-to-Cleveland “is happening.” He adds the Giants don’t love any of these quarterbacks, perhaps explaining the massive Saquon Barkley-to-New York buzz. Big Blue has now been connected to a trade-down scenario when it did not look like that would be the case for weeks now.

Browns Shopping TE Randall Telfer

Already reportedly inquiring about a possible Jamar Taylor trade, the Browns are also shopping one of their young tight ends.

Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports the team is offering fourth-year tight end Randall Telfer to teams. A 2016 sixth-round pick, Telfer started 14 games for the Browns last season. However, he was a distant third among Cleveland’s tight end contingent in receptions, hauling in just three passes for 36 yards — numbers that came in well below David Njoku and Seth DeValve’s from 2017.

The Browns used Telfer on 300 offensive plays last season. The Browns acquired Telfer, a USC alum, during the Ray Farmer years. Now that they’re two regimes removed from their former GM, it would make sense John Dorsey is looking to bring in one of his own players at the position.

Cleveland reached an agreement with free agent Darren Fells this offseason, so Telfer’s place on the roster could be tenuous with both Njoku and DeValve expected to be in the 2018 mix as well.

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Browns To Select Baker Mayfield No. 1?

With hours to go before the NFL Draft, the identity of the No. 1 pick remains unclear. There is increasing chatter from head coaches and GMs that the Browns will select Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. This comes after weeks of reports identifying USC’s Sam Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen as the only real candidates for the selection. 

Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy in 2017 and led the Football Bowl Subdivision in completion rate by connecting on 70.5% of his throws. He also set a single-season record by averaging 11.5 yards per pass and threw for 43 touchdowns against six interceptions. Still, questions persist about his build and character. For his part, Browns GM John Dorsey has shrugged off questions about Mayfield’s height and his behavioral red flags.

Mayfield going No. 1 would be a surprise, but there is no real consensus on any of this year’s top quarterbacks. Darnold and Josh Rosen were long touted as the best QBs in this year’s crop, but both players are coming off of rocky seasons that potentially exposed their flaws. Allen, meanwhile, doesn’t have a great on-field track record to match the hype of his arm strength.

So far, Dorsey has kept the identity of the draft pick close to the vest. It’s possible that we won’t know the identity of the No. 1 overall pick until it is read by Roger Goodell on Thursday night, and that will make for some serious drama.

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Browns Draft Notes: Jackson, Ward

  • If the Browns move down from No. 4, they could target Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward further down the board, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Browns have already made some additions at cornerback, but they’re looking for another starter. If they land Ward, you can expect Cleveland to trade Jamar Taylor.
  • Earlier today, reports indicated that Browns head coach Hue Jackson wasn’t sure what the organization would do with the first-overall pick. However, Steve Wyche of NFL Network tweets that Jackson is “fully in the loop” regarding Cleveland’s draft plans. Jackson, along with several coordinators, have seen the front office’s draft board.

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Browns Shopping No. 4 Pick

Could the Browns use the No. 4 pick as ammunition to acquire even more selections? That might be the case, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter) reports that Cleveland has shopped the pick.

Cleveland would presumably have a number of suitors, as several teams are reportedly looking to move up in the first round, including the Packers and Cardinals. There were whispers that the Bills could pull off a deal for the Giants’ second-overall selection, but reports indicated that Buffalo wouldn’t “sell out” to acquire the pick. If the Bills were indeed interested in trading for that Giants pick, they could perhaps switch their focus to the Browns’ fourth-overall pick, although that’s merely speculation on my part.

What would it take for a team to acquire the Browns’ pick? We can somewhat refer to the trade that the Jets and Colts pulled off last month. Indy ended up sending No. 3 to New York in exchange for a first-rounder (No. 6), a pair of upcoming seconds (No. 37 and No. 49), and a 2019 second-round pick. It’s uncertain if the Browns could receive a similar package for the fourth pick, although suitors may have a bit of leverage. After all, we learned last week that the Broncos would move the No. 5 pick for the right price.

The Browns originally acquired the No. 4 pick from Houston in a draft-day deal that allowed the Texans to select quarterback Deshaun Watson. Cleveland currently has five selection in the first two rounds, including the top-overall pick.

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NFL Draft Rumors: Browns, Price, Broncos

The Browns‘ No. 1 pick remains a mystery to everyone, including head coach Hue Jackson, according to Robert Klemko of The MMQB (on Twitter). He also adds that Dorsey has already made his determination, contrary to what has been leaked to the press.

On Wednesday morning, it was reported that the Browns are likely to select either Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen or Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield. Of course, that could just be a smokescreen as many still believe the Browns will take USC’s Sam Darnold.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

 

Browns, Colts Lead League In Cap Space

The Browns and Colts have the most cap room of any team in the NFL heading into draft, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. Here’s the official rundown of every team’s cap space for 2018 on the eve of draft weekend:

  1. Browns – $69.5MM
  2. Colts – $59.8MM
  3. 49ers – $43.8MM
  4. Titans – $35.8MM
  5. Texans -$35.6MM
  6. Bears – $24.1MM
  7. Jets – $21.9MM
  8. Bills – $19.4MM
  9. Jaguars – $18.6MM
  10. Cardinals – $18.1MM
  11. Redskins -$17.1MM
  12. Bengals – $16.8MM
  13. Packers – $16.2MM
  14. Vikings – $15.5MM
  15. Broncos – $14.6MM
  16. Patriots – $13.8MM
  17. Buccaneers – $12.3MM
  18. Cowboys -$11.9MM
  19. Chargers – $11.4MM
  20. Lions – $9.4MM
  21. Giants -$9.4MM
  22. Ravens – $8.8MM
  23. Seahawks – $7.6MM
  24. Chiefs – $6.7MM
  25. Saints – $5.7MM
  26. Panthers – $5.2MM
  27. Dolphins – $2.9MM
  28. Eagles – $2.2MM
  29. Steelers – $2MM
  30. Raiders – $1.8MM
  31. Falcons – $1.3MM
  32. Rams – $264K

Browns Consider Trading No. 4 Overall Pick

The Browns plan to keep the No. 1 pick, but they could trade their other first-round selection. The Browns have had a lot of conversations about the No. 4 selection, sources tell Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Those talks could be a part of due diligence, but the Browns may also be also considering a scenario in which they get a large haul for the No. 4 choice from a team desperate to take their desired quarterback. 

One decision-maker told Rapoport (Twitter link) that the No. 4 pick is the “pivotal point in the draft.” If the Browns were to keep both the No. 1 and No. 4 picks, the assumption is that a QB would be taken with the first pick and a non-QB would go at No. 4. If another team steps up and takes a QB at No. 4, it increases the likelihood that four QBs will be taken within the top 5. That would spell good news for teams that are already set under center and put other clubs in need of a passer in a precarious spot.

If the Giants select running back Saquon Barkley – as many believe they will – and pick Nos. 1, 3, 4, and 5 are all used on QBs, many of this year’s top overall talents will be available outside of the top five. The Colts, in particular, would be in a position to benefit. After already landing three second-round picks to trade down from No. 3 to No. 6, the Colts could command a serious haul if defensive end Bradley Chubb, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, Florida State safety Derwin James, and Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick are all on the board. The Colts could also stand pat and select one of this year’s best players available for themselves.

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