The Cleveland Browns could not find their dance partner before the trade deadline.
Much of the focus for the Browns has been on executing a trade with the Washington Redskins to bring aboard seven Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams to protect Baker Mayfield. But with the Redskins not budging on some unrealistic trade value, Browns general manager John Dorsey decided to stay pat as the 4 p.m. ET deadline passed.
Dorsey had reportedly been pestering the Redskins every week about Williams, but was repeatedly rebuffed in his efforts to make a trade happen.
It prompted Dorsey to say at a press conference last week that “it takes two to tango,” when asked about the trade talk. Turns out he couldn’t have been more accurate.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that the Redskins — who are 1-7 — were finally open to trading Williams, and the Browns were at the top of the list in regards to potential suitors.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the Redskins were telling teams they had a second-round pick on the table, likely meaning they were holding out for a first-round pick in exchange for Williams, who was selected No. 4 overall in the 2010 draft.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that the Redskins’ asking price for Williams had gone up, and they also wanted a premier playmaker like second-year corner Denzel Ward in the deal. Brown safety Damarious Randall sent this out around the time of the news, which may have been a way of speaking for everyone in the Browns’ camp.
Williams has been firm that he does not want to play for the Redskins, holding out for the entirety of this season. According to ESPN, Williams’ absence has to do with his distrust of the team’s medical staff, something that stems from a growth on his head he had removed in the offseason.
However, shortly after the trade deadline, his former teammate DeAngelo Hall sent out a tweet saying Williams had reported to the Redskins.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed the report just moments later.
The Browns did make a few trades recently, getting a fourth-round pick back from the Eagles for backup defensive end Genard Avery and also dealing backup lineman Austin Corbett to the Rams for a fifth-round pick.
Browns Still Searching for Offensive Line Answers
After a stellar first season where he set the record for touchdown passes by a rookie (27) in just 13 starts, Mayfield has found himself on the run during most snaps this season. He’s been sacked 21 times and has thrown 12 interceptions, which is tied for the most in the NFL.
Last week Dorsey hinted that change was coming to the offensive line, whether it be internally with the group they had, or externally via a trade.
“I think, again, once we get done with our self-evaluations and assessments, we’ll come to some conclusions and determine what way we are going to head,” Dorsey added. “What I’d like to do is constantly work the phones and do some research. Whatever happens, happens. If nothing happens, you move on and move on to the next project.”
Veteran Justin McCray got his first start against the Patriots out of the bye week, replacing Greg Williams at left tackle.
“I thought he fought,” head coach Freddie Kitchens said of McCray’s performance. “I did not think he did too bad for his first start and away. He gave up a sack. The guy actually slipped and fell and kind of caught his knee. It was kind of a weird deal. I thought he fought. He was good in the run game. He fought in protection. I thought he was OK.”
Kitchens did not go as far to say that McCray would start this week against the Denver Broncos.
“I do not know yet,” the first-year head coach responded.
Browns Head to Denver for a Must-Win Matchup
At just 2-5 and on a three-game losing streak, the Browns need to string together wins to stay in contention for a playoff spot.
First up is a trip to Denver this week, where the Browns will takes on the Broncos and backup quarterback Brandon Allen, who does not have an NFL completion to his name. Starter Joe Flacco was ruled out with a herniated disk in his neck, which may cost him the rest of his first season in Denver as the team looks for the best solution going forward.
The Browns are just a 3-point road favorite for the game.