The Browns have already made some big moves this offseason but could really load up for a run by wrangling Samuel in a trade. The Browns are behind only the 49ers in terms of where Samuel will play this coming season, per odds provided by Bookies.com. Cleveland is listed at +350 and San Francisco comes in at +275. The Colts (+350), Cowboys (+400) and Panthers (+500) are also top contenders for his services.
Samuel has made his displeasure with the 49ers known, most recently telling ESPN’s Jeff Darlington that he has asked the 49ers to trade him. He’s coming off an explosive breakout season where he was named a first-team All-Pro, notching 77 catches for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns. He also filled a hole in the Niners backfield, rushing for 365 in part-time duty.
Samuel declined to offer specific reasons for requesting the trade but acknowledged that he has informed the team of his desire to leave, per ESPN. It’s likely due to the 26-year-old wanting a new deal.
Samuel is a former second-round pick and is not being paid like a top-tier wide receiver. He’ll make under $4 million next season while watching other receivers like, Davante Adams, cash in. The explosion of wide receiver contracts this offseason has led to some massive deals, with Tyreek Hill and Adams signing deals worth over $100 million with boatloads of guaranteed money.
Browns Looking for Another Top-Tier Receiving Option
The Browns reshaped their receiver room this offseason, landing Amari Cooper via trade and parting ways with veteran Jarvis Landry in a cap-saving move. That comes after a year that saw the Browns breakup midseason with Odell Beckham Jr., who never found his groove in Cleveland.
Getting Samuel to play opposite Cooper would give the Browns one of the strongest 1-2 punches in the league, especially with Deshaun Watson under center in Cleveland.
Cooper met with the media on Wednesday at the Browns voluntary offseason program and is pumped to get working with Watson.
“I was happy. I was elated. My friends called me right away. I was in another country. I was in Dubai. I was extremely happy,” Cooper said, reflecting on when he found out Watson was heading to the Browns to join him. “Guys were like, ‘Man, you are lucky.’ It was some of my former teammates, and I was like, ‘What?’ Then I checked social media and the news, and I found out that information. It was cool. I was happy about it.”
Browns Still in the Mix for Jarvis Landry
While the Browns are among the favorites to land Samuel, it’d take some additional cap gymnastics from Browns general manager Andrew Berry to make it work both this season and for the long term.
A more reasonable option for the Browns is bringing back Landry, who has expressed interest in a reunion with his former team.
Landry’s fired his agent earlier this offseason and is now represented by Roosevelt Barnes and Jovan Barnes of ISE Worldwide. Roosevelt Barnes told Cleveland.com that Landry would be open to returning to the Browns.
“That’s his home and he loves it there,” Barnes told Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot. “There’s mutual interest in him being back there, but Jarvis also has interest from some other teams as well.”
Landry took his first trip to the IR with a knee issue last season, posting 52 catches for 570 yards and two touchdowns last season — all career-lows.