Heading into the 2021 season, the Cleveland Browns were looking to build on some serious momentum they had gained the year prior. They ended their 17-year playoff drought in 2020, making it as far as the Divisional Round before losing to the eventual AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs.
With most of their core returning, the Browns were optimistic 2021 would be an even better year.
The Browns’ 2021 season has not gone according to plan
Unfortunately for the Browns, such a reality has not been formulated. Cleveland is currently 7-7, on the outside looking in when it comes to the AFC playoff picture. They could still work themselves back into a wild card spot by the season’s end. However, it’s going to take some serious work. As the current No. 12 seed, they’d have to pass five teams in the standings to make it happen.
A few issues can be pointed at to explain the Browns’ struggles this year. Odell Beckham Jr. departed at the trade deadline, and they’ve been plagued by injury issues. However, at the center of it all is quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield has always been a topic of heavy conversation when discussing the Browns’ overall ceiling. Some believe he’s capable of being a franchise QB in Cleveland; others believe he’s holding the team back to an extent. Whichever side of the argument you fall on, it’s impossible to ignore his struggles this season.
Mayfield currently ranks 20th in passer rating and 26th in quarterback rating. A shoulder injury has hindered his ability to be truly effective, but the numbers speak for themselves at the end of the day.
Thus enters potential offseason trade target, Russell Wilson.
Are the Browns eyeing up an offseason Russell Wilson trade?
With the Seattle Seahawks set to finish with their first losing record in over a decade, it feels like a foregone conclusion that QB Russell Wilson will be traded in the offseason. He’s flirted with trade talks for a while, and now Seattle finally has a reason to push toward a rebuild.
The Browns have yet to be mentioned as a possible landing destination for Wilson…until now.
One of the changes that could be made at quarterback includes Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.
Mayfield has been a disappointment this season throwing for less than 2,500 yards thus far, and only 11 touchdowns.
He ranks 26th among quarterbacks in QBR and only ranks higher than three other quarterbacks who are still the current starters of their teams.
One of the names that’s been spoken in hushed corners as a possible replacement for Mayfield moving forward, is Russell Wilson.
…Don’t be surprised if Cleveland gets tired of Baker’s antics and lack of production and looks to move on from him in favor of Wilson.Jalin Coblentz, brownsnation.com
Cleveland does make sense as a landing spot for Russell Wilson
While it’s nothing more than a rumor at the moment, the Browns do make a ton of sense for Wilson if he pushed for a trade this offseason.
They have a strong offensive line and a solid group of pass-catchers, and most importantly, they have cap space to work with. The Browns are currently projected to have $35-plus million in cap space next year, making the financials of a Wilson-to-Cleveland trade possible.
The Browns would presumably need to find a landing spot for Mayfield first. However, it’s hard to ignore the potential a Wilson-led Browns offense has. It’s something to consider if you’re Cleveland.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.