How Cleveland Can Become A Super Bowl Contender … Next Year

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Crazy thought? Not at all. The Browns are closer than many think. Here’s why.

The Cleveland Browns finished the 2017 campaign with a historic 0-16 record. The winless fete has happened only once before in NFL history–in 2008 by the Detroit Lions. The Lions followed up that forgettable season with a 2-win season in 2009. In 2010 Detroit won six games.

I believe the Browns can exact a must faster turnaround. Sure. Expectations can’t possibly be high for a team that hasn’t won recently. But my take is that the Browns are in a great position, all things considered.

Here are three things the Browns need to do.

First, Cleveland needs to sign Kirk Cousins as the Browns’ new face and quarterback. Cousins has experience and will produce. Yes, he’ll come with a hefty price tag, but the Browns should have more than $100 million dollars in cap space. So throw $25 million per year at him, even $30 million if you have to. Front-load the contract because of cap space. Get the most important position in professional sports locked up.


Cousins would do well to sign with the Browns. In Cleveland, he’d have a solid offensive line led by Joe Thomas and Kevin Zeitler. And he’ll throw to Josh Gordon, who’s a top wide receiver talent. Corey Coleman is a young talent who just hasn’t been able to make it through a season healthy.

Second, the Browns must go long and deep in the upcoming NFL Draft. Cleveland has two of the top four picks and a 5th pick before the end of Round 2. Cleveland needs to pick five players who are capable of being starters on Day 1 of the 2018 season.

With that in mind, I’d make Saquon Barkley the first pick. Barkley, a highly touted running back out of Penn St., can be a workhorse right away. Then I’d go with Minkah Fitzpatrick, a cornerback out of Alabama, who’s the best CB prospect in the Draft. Fitzpatrick’s pick would solidify a defense with Myles Garrett and Danny Shelton on the front line, Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey at the linebacker position, and Fitzpatrick on the corner and Jabril Peppers at safety. Then use the remaining three high-round picks to fill in spots on offense and defense.

Third, I believe the Browns should pass on re-signing all four of the team’s unrestricted free agents. Cleveland only has four and Isaiah Crowell was the only one who contributed significantly. I’d pass on Crowell, too.

If Cleveland follows this plan–signs Cousins, takes full advantage of draft picks, and passes on its UFA’s–I believe the Browns can contend for the playoffs … right away. The Browns will be able to do that because they’ll have elite players at almost every position.

It’s up to the front office to make it happen.


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