The Browns are ready to take another step forward in 2021. Swapping these three veterans for exciting rookies can help Cleveland improve.
Going from good to great is one of the biggest challenges in the modern NFL. That’s just the mountain the Browns need to climb in 2021. If they want to go from an intriguing playoff team to a legitimate Super Bowl contender, they’ll need to make some controversial personnel decisions.
More specifically, the team’s front office needs to offload some high-priced veterans. The most cost-effective way for Cleveland to accomplish that goal is to acquire younger, cheaper options in April’s NFL Draft.
This piece identifies three veterans the Browns really need to replace via the draft. Cutting ties with these big names might not be popular with Cleveland’s fan base, but it will help the team win more games moving forward.
3. Sheldon Richardson
Richardson was a decent starter at defensive tackle for the Browns last season, but cutting him would save Cleveland $11.5 million salary-cap space. That makes keeping the veteran defensive lineman a poor financial decision for the Browns.
The fact that Richardson is now on the wrong side of 30 years of age should also play into this decision. Cleveland needs to find a younger, cheaper option to build around on the interior.
Former North Carolina State star Alim McNeil projects as a perfect addition for the Browns. He’s got the massive size required to plug the middle of the line against the run, but he also was a standout pass rusher for the Wolfpack. He would be a great value selection for the Browns in Round 2 or even in Round 3 if he falls that far.