Browns Pursuit of Pro Bowler Gets Added Complication

Getty Trent Williams.

If the Cleveland Browns are interested in adding Trent Williams to their offensive line, it will cost them mightily.

Not only will the Browns have to give up assets in a trade to pry Williams from the Washington Redskins, but the 31-year-old wants a new deal that will pay him $20 million per year, according to reporting by ESPN’s John Keim.

That kind of money would make Williams the highest paid offensive lineman in the league on a per year basis, $2 million ahead of Eagles tackle Lane Johnson.

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 stemmed from a growth on his head he had removed in the offseason. After returning, Williams failed his physical due to helmet discomfort stemming from the growth removal.

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’ former position coach, Bill Callahan, is on the Browns staff, which could be extra incentive for him to join the crew in Cleveland.

Browns Have Been Posturing to Invest in Offensive Line

GettyCleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski.

The Browns new regime have made some cap-saving moves since coming aboard to reportedly invest in the offensive line. A group headlined by veteran defensive back T.J. Carrie was cut earlier this offseason and the team is not expected to bring back leading tackler Joe Schobert. The linebacker is expected to seek a deal in the $10 million-plus range, which the Browns reportedly are not willing to do.

General manager Andrew Berry has explained that he wants to be aggressive in his pursuit of adding talent to the roster, but trading for a 31-year-old tackle who just missed an entire season and wants a massive deal would be borderline reckless.

“If there is anything that I want to be defined by, it is aggression,” Berry said. “We want to aggressively acquire talent because that is the name of the game from an NFL front office perspective, and we are going to explore every avenue that enables us to do that.”

Browns Have Pieces to Build Around on Offense

GettyBrowns QB Baker Mayfield

The Browns’ pillars on the line include 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 lineman with the No. 10 pick in the draft. Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas and Mekhi Becton have been names mentioned as possibilities with the Browns’ first pick.

Cleveland will not bring back Greg 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. “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.”

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