The Cleveland Browns received some good news on Thursday, with two Pro Bowl caliber offensive tackles becoming available to beef up the offensive line.
Washington Redskins standout Trent Williams and Philadelphia Eagles veteran Jason Peters will both be looking for new teams next year — Williams via trade and Peters in free agency. Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reported that the Browns are “casting a wide net” to fill their left tackle spot, previously occupied by Greg Robinson.
Williams has been a target for the Browns, but the asking price was too steep last season at the trade deadline for the 31-year-old with injury concerns.
Williams agent, Vincent Taylor, told The Athletic that his client is ready to get back on the field.
“Trent is excited to resume his Pro Bowl career with a team interested in a player of his stature,” Taylor said. “We really appreciate and respect Dan Snyder for the chance to seek another opportunity. This isn’t about a contract, but time for a change of scenery.”
Williams — a seven-time Pro Bowl selection — held out for the first part of the season. According to ESPN, Williams’ early-season absence had 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. After returning, failed his physical due to helmet discomfort stemming from the growth removal.
Williams’ former position coach, Bill Callahan, is on the Browns staff, which could be extra incentive for him to join.
Jason Peters an Interesting Stopgap for Browns
The Eagles announced on Thursday that they were going to let Peters test free agency as “each side continues to evaluate its options.” Peters has made the Pro Bowl nine times and been named an All-Pro six times.
“We are appreciative of everything Jason has contributed to the organization over the last 11 seasons in Philadelphia, including building a first-ballot Hall of Fame career and helping us win our first Super Bowl Championship. Jason has been an incredible leader and person both on and off the field,” the team said in a statement.
Peters has started 29 of a possible 32 games over the last two seasons for the Eagles, but is 38 and not a long-term solution by any means for the Browns. His link to Cleveland is through new Browns GM Andrew Berry, who spent last season as the vice president of football operations.
Browns Need to Protect Baker Mayfield to Optimize Offense
The Browns line includes JC Tretter and Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio. Tretter signed a long-term deal last season and Bitonio is signed through the 2022 season. There’s also a good chance that the Browns will add an offensive line with the No. 10 pick in the draft. Cleveland will not bring back Robinson, a former No. 2 overall pick who was arrested with 157 pounds of marijuana on him at the US-Mexico border.
If the Browns can get the offensive line under control and protect Baker Mayfield, the team has potential to possess one of the explosive units in the league with names like Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb.
New Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said the amount of talent on the roster in Cleveland was a big reason for him taking the job.
“Obviously, having the opportunity to put an offense together with the group of guys was very intriguing. Another reason would be the talent that has been acquired here over the years,” Van Pelt said in his introductory press conference this week. “Obviously, the group is extremely talented, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Having the chance to work with those guys was another part of that. Then coming to the organization, the Browns have a long history as an organization and the city is another reason that I was excited to take the job.”