Browns Trade Proposal Flips Starting CB For Draft Pick

Getty Cleveland Browns rookies Mack Wilson and Greedy Williams.

A defensive backfield that’s too loaded with talent is generally a good problem to have.

In the case of the Cleveland Browns, that exact situation could facilitate a preseason deal that brings back a draft asset in exchange for former second-round pick Greedy Williams before he decides to depart on his own.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report suggested that Williams is one of the three prime trade candidates on Cleveland’s roster, along with quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Kareem Hunt. All three are playing on the final year of their respective contracts, and each has the potential to start wherever he might land, making each of them commodities capable of bringing back significant value — at least in theory.

Mayfield is almost certainly on his way out, it’s just a question of timing and leverage. Hunt is a more interesting case, playing on an affordable contract of $6 million in 2022 as part of arguably the best backfield in the NFL that also includes Nick Chubb and D’Ernest Johnson.

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Williams Afforded Trade Value of Mid-Round Draft Pick or Higher

GettyThe Cleveland Browns could move cornerback Greedy Williams for a valuable draft pick before his contract expires at the end of the 2022 regular season.

Knox laid out his rationale for the Browns dealing Williams in exchange for at least a mid-round draft choice as part of a piece published on Sunday, July 4.

A team with playoff aspirations can never have too many good cornerbacks. This is why the Browns should only consider moving Greedy Williams at a high price point — ideally a third- or fourth-round pick at a minimum.

Williams is also entering the final year of his rookie contract, and the Browns have spent several seasons stockpiling corners. Former first-round picks Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II lock down the perimeter, and Cleveland added third-round pick Martin Emerson Jr. to the mix this offseason.

Barring a tremendous 2021 campaign, the Browns appear unlikely to offer Williams a lucrative contract. There’s a real chance that he’ll depart in 2023 free agency with the possibility of a compensatory pick as Cleveland’s only return.

If a cornerback-needy team is willing to offer fair market value for Williams, Cleveland would have to consider it.

Williams appeared in 16 games last season, starting eight of those. He posted 41 tackles, including two for loss, defensed 10 passes, made two interceptions and forced a fumble, per Pro Football Reference. Opposing quarterbacks achieved a collective rating of only 74.0 when throwing against Williams in 2021.

Williams Has Been Injury Prone Through First Three NFL Seasons

Getty ImagesCornerback Greedy Williams of the Cleveland Browns has dealt with injuries for much of his career.

While Williams’ statistics have been solid when he has been able to play, including 12 starts across his first season, the product of Louisiana State University (LSU) has struggled to stay on the field.

After missing four games during his rookie campaign in 2019, the cornerback severely injured the axillary nerve in his shoulder while participating in a training camp tackling drill prior to the 2020 regular season, which caused him to miss the entire year.

Williams then sustained a groin injury in a preseason game against the New York Giants prior to the 2021 regular season, just one month after being sidelined with a heat-related issue during team workouts.

The injury concerns probably aren’t enough to scare off suitors in need of supplementation in their secondaries, particularly this early in Williams’ career. However, for a team like the Browns who are deep at the position and have already footed the bill for 21 missed games in the cornerback’s first three seasons, moving on from Williams before he can move on from Cleveland next season makes considerable sense.

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