The Cleveland Browns did not get better Friday. It’s otherwise been an offseason of good vibes and solid additions for a team that in the span of one year has moved away from its rancid past and into a window of contention, but the Browns cut Sheldon Richardson and made an already thin defense worse.
The Browns are good, especially on offense. They have a strong (and young) core and are attractive to proven free agents, as evidenced by their recent additions of safety John Johnson III and edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in 2014. Cutting Richardson was strictly about finances as they trim about $11 million from their salary cap, freeing them to spend that money over the next 15 months on contract extensions.
The first rule of first-world problems, which the Browns now have, is that they’re almost always about money. The Browns got good last season and are trying to stay good, and that won’t be the last difficult decision general manager Andrew Berry has to make on an established player. It certainly marks a change in decision-making priority for Berry, who 15 months ago became the youngest GM in NFL history (32 at the time) and took on the task of trying to guide the Browns out of two decades of misery.