The Cleveland Browns had been the model on how not to run a franchise since their rebirth in 1999. But now, thanks to general manager Andrew Berry, the Browns find themselves in unfamiliar territory. The team's decision-making has been widely praised over the past two offseasons because of a clear and disciplined strategy orchestrated by GM Andrew Berry.
PFF's Mike Renner wrote a great article on using free agency for need and adding value through the draft. Cleveland signed tight end Austin Hooper and offensive tackle Jack Conklin to fill vital roles on the roster. Although some felt that the Hooper deal came at a premium, the Conklin deal was a bargain considering his contributions as a vital member along one of the league's best units.
Linebacker B.J. Goodson, safety Karl Joseph, cornerback Kevin Johnson, defensive tackle Andrew Billings, safety Andrew Sendejo, wide receiver Jojo Natson and edge rusher Adrian Clayborn were all signed in the first wave of free agency. Clayborn was the only one signed for more than one year. All were short-term, cost controlled deals that simultaneously gave the team long-term financial flexibility and viable starting options at almost every position.
During the period between free agency and the draft, the team re-signed edge rusher Myles Garrett to a league-pacing deal in terms of practical guaranteed money. Garrett had two years remaining on his rookie contract and many questioned the motive behind signing him so early. It was literally a matter of weeks before Los Angeles gave Joey Bosa a deal that surpassed Garrett in regards to average annual value ($25 million per year) and guaranteed money at signing. It was likely a play to get ahead of T.J. Watt's contract as well. The contract extension looks pretty good now. The Texas A&M product was averaging a sack per game before his battle with COVID-19.