We’re coming up on the NFL conference championship games this weekend, a feat that the Cleveland Browns and their fans haven’t even come close to since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Alright, that was rude. I apologize for the unnecessary shot at Cleveland, but I call them as I see them. Your franchise has been a joke for pretty much my entire 25 years on the planet, and every other team and their fanbase (including the Jets for God’s sake) are laughing at you. Fortunately for you guys, I’m a problem solver, and I’m here to save your franchise. Not that I’m a Browns fan or anything, but I’m not a monster. I think every team deserves some type of success and happiness. Except the Cowboys, Redskins, and Eagles, they can all go to hell (I’m a Giants fan if you couldn’t tell).
Now am I an expert when it comes to fixing an NFL franchise? No, but guess what? Neither is any other idiot that the Browns have employed over the last 20 years, so I can’t imagine I’d do any worse than a majority of them. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say that the Browns gave me an important job with the organization. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to say I’m the new owner. Now this isn’t a fix that’s going to happen overnight, it will take a few years, but here a few quick fixes as to how I’d help get the Browns back on track, or at least relevant.
1. DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT DRAFT A QUARTERBACK THIS YEAR.
I’m well aware that to compete in the NFL you need to have a franchise quarterback, something the Browns have never had in my lifetime. Since no free agent quarterback in their right mind would ever sign with Cleveland, the only other option they have is to draft one. The Browns have whiffed on every quarterback they’ve drafted in my lifetime. That’s not an opinion. It’s a fact. With the #1 and #12 picks in the draft this year you’d think it’d be in our (I’m saying our because I’m the owner of the Browns in this article) best interest to take a quarterback at one of those spots, but it’s not. This year’s quarterback class in the NFL draft is a fairly weak one. Sure, Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky may be okay NFL quarterbacks, but they aren’t going to save a franchise or they could even end up being busts, and everyone will continue to laugh at us if we take them. What the Browns should do, at least with the first pick, is draft Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. The guy is an absolute MONSTER and will give you a special talent at pass rusher that not many teams in the league have. With the 12th pick, I’d still avoid taking a quarterback because it’s such a weak class. Depending on who’s available, I would consider taking someone else to add to the defense, like an offensive lineman or wide receiver Mike Williams, although you’ll have to be patient with him because he won’t have anyone good throwing to him. By avoiding drafting a quarterback, we’re probably going to be picking high in the draft again in 2018, but that leads me to my next point…
2. Suck in 2017 and position yourself to draft Sam Darnold in 2018.
He’s the quarterback that can save your franchise. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold threw for 31 touchdowns and led USC to a Rose Bowl victory over Penn State. During that game, he threw for five touchdowns and was named MVP. In my opinion, he’ll be the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck and is someone the fanbase can feel optimistic about. Although he’s a year away, which won’t help Cleveland in 2017, he’s definitely worth the wait. So ride this year out with RG3 or whoever else is a quarterback on the Browns roster, and position yourself to draft Darnold in 2018 if he enters the draft, which I fully expect him to do.
3. Keep Hue Jackson around for at least another year.
Is Hue Jackson a good head coach? The jury is still out on that. I know he went 1-15 in his first season, but he was also given a dog shit roster to work with, a roster that I don’t even think could have given Bill Belichick five wins. Take a look at some of the most successful teams in the NFL, the Patriots, Steelers, Packers, Giants, Seahawks, and this year, the Cowboys. What’s something they all have in common? They don’t go through head coaches left and right, they keep a sense of continuity with the team. The Browns are going to suck this year again, but by holding on to Jackson, it will at least show that they’re sticking by their guy, which is something players like to see. If Cleveland is able to draft Darnold in 2018, I would at least give Jackson one year with him to see if the franchise is able to show any signs of improvement. Personally, I do think Jackson could make a good head coach, he just needs to get better players on his roster.
4. Trade Joe Thomas or Joe Haden.
I would personally like to trade both of them, but Joe Thomas has come out and said that he doesn’t want to be traded because he doesn’t want to pick his family up and move. That leaves us with Joe Haden. Haden is one of the best corner backs in the league, and still relatively young (turns 28 in April) and in his prime. The problem is that with the exception of Jamie Collins, the Browns really don’t have anyone else on their defense. While it’d be nice to hold onto Haden, I think you could get a good return for him if you trade him, whether that’s through draft picks or other players. I know that the Browns always seem to be in rebuilding mode, but trading Haden would give them a chance to start from scratch and to start fresh with a new batch of players, that hopefully pans out for them.
Now am I saying that my four solutions are going to result in the Browns winning the Super Bowl? No, that’s absurd, c’mon it’s still the Cleveland Browns we’re talking about here. Having said that, I do think that those quick fixes could be a big step in the right direction. If you’re reading this Cleveland Browns: Take notes. If you do go ahead and follow my quick fixes and they work out for you, just make sure you give me the proper credit.