Dorsey nails his first two strikes
It most likely took much more than day’s work to accomplish it, but the Browns’ offense took a major step toward respectability Friday with two major announcements.
New General Manager John Dorsey launched his first two strikes toward his avowed goal of making the Browns relevant again in the National Football League by taking care of the quarterback problem for the immediate future and strengthening the weakest area on the team.
In two deals that have been agreed upon but won’t be announced until next Wednesday, the first day of the new league year, Dorsey shipped two draft choices (one this year, one next, each between rounds three and seven) for Miami wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and reportedly the club’s third-round pick this year for Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
It automatically makes the Cleveland offense, easily the worst in the NFL last season, at the very least respectable. It also ends speculation as to which quarterback will help mentor whomever Dorsey selects in next month’s college draft
The trades stabilize the quarterback situation for the time being and add an established veteran presence to a wide receivers room that has qualified as the worst in the NFL the last couple of seasons.
New offensive coordinator Todd Haley has to be extremely pleased to welcome the productive Landry and Taylor, a quarterback who will not overwhelm you with his statistics, but is one of the best in the NFL at protecting the football.
In his three years with Buffalo, he threw a modest 51 touchdown passes and only 16 interceptions, a sharp contrast to DeShone Kizer’s 22 picks last season as a rookie for the winless Browns. He has completed 62.6% of his passes. Kizer completed just 53.6% of his throws.
Taylor, who will be 29 in August, will be perfect bridge quarterback to Dorsey’s first-round selection in the draft, perhaps serving as long as two years in that role.
Landry, arguably one of the NFL’s best and most productive slot receivers, will provide the new quarterback with the ability to do something Cleveland wideouts were unable to do the past two seasons – get open frequently and catch the football.
He led the NFL in receptions last season with 112 (Browns receivers caught just 134 as a group) and held on to 69.6% of targeted throws (the Browns checked in at 45.1%).
Landry, who turns 26 in late November, has been a Pro Bowler the last three seasons and should provide the Browns with numerous opportunities to sustain drives. The days of multiple three-and-outs a game theoretically are history.
Josh Gordon and injury-prone Corey Coleman, should the Browns choose to hold on to him, are expected to be the outside receivers who can stretch the field with Landry providing help mostly over the middle and in short-yardage situations.
The only negative with Landry, who has booked 400 career receptions, 4.038 yards and 22 touchdowns in four seasons, can be found in these numbers. He is not a big yards-after-catch receiver, averaging a shade more than 10 yards a reception.
As one pundit put it: “If you needs five yards, Landry will get you seven. If you need 10 yards, Landry will get you seven.”
It appears as though Dorsey targeted Landry, franchise-tagged by the salary-cap-strapped Dolphins in an effort to deal him, because the wide receivers class in thos draft is not as strong as other years and Cleveland’s receivers room needed a significant boost.
Rather than going through free agency, the new general manager took the more immediate route to boost the talent-starved area. Besides, it opens up the distinct possibility of strengthening other more important areas such as the secondary in the draft.
The Browns, more than $100 million under the salary cap, reportedly are working on a multi-year contract with Landry, but are willing to take on his $16 million price tag this season until a deal can be worked out to the satisfaction of both parties.
It has also been speculated that Terrelle Pryor, who bolted the Browns for Washington last season after his bust-out season with them in 2016, might be headed back to Cleveland after a disappointing and injury-filled season with the Redskins.
A pass-catching corps of Landry, Gordon, Coleman, year tight end David Njoku, running back Duke Johnson Jr. and possibly Pryor, in addition to a pass-catching running back in the draft, gives fans a lot to look forward to this season.
In a matter of hours Friday, Dorsey gave his coach a new quarterback, who is the antithesis of his mistake-prone quarterback of last season, and a young veteran wide receiver whose past production instantly elevates the offense exponentially.
He has quickly shown he is a man of action. As a result, the offense won’t just be better in 2018. It will be a whole lot better.-->