Browns Send Clear Message on Greg Newsome II Trade Rumors

Browns cornerback Greg Newsome is in part of a talented secondary in Cleveland.

Getty Images Browns cornerback Greg Newsome is in part of a talented secondary in Cleveland.

The Cleveland Browns have been the subject of any number of trade rumors both leading up to and during free agency, with the latest involving cornerback Greg Newsome II.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry spoke definitively last week to the recent trade talk swirling around the starting defensive back.

“I can’t help what players come up in trading rumors,” Berry said on March 26, per Mary Kay Cabot of “We have that every year, but we’re pleased with Greg, anticipate him continuing to play a big role for us.”

Detroit Lions Rumored to Have Interest in Trading for Browns CB Greg Newsome II

The Detroit Lions are interested in a trade for Browns CB Greg Newsome.

GettyThe Detroit Lions are interested in trading for Cleveland Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II.

Berry’s rhetoric represented a stark turn from what Cleveland told other teams around the league as free agency approached, at least according to Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post.

“Multiple GMs said the Cleveland Browns made it clear they are open to dealing one of their top cornerbacks as they try to balance salaries after years of heavy spending,” La Canfora wrote on March 7.

Just one day later, Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire reported that the Detroit Lions had interest in acquiring Newsome.

“Very strong indications the Browns are looking to make a move with Newsome,” Risdon posted to X on March 8. “Also very strong indications the Lions have at least picked up the phone to talk about it.”

Browns’ Greg Newsome II Starting-Caliber CB Coming Off Best NFL Season

Greg Newsome, Browns

GettyCornerback Greg Newsome II of the Cleveland Browns celebrates a turnover during an NFL game.

Newsome is a former first-round pick of the Browns, who selected him 26th overall in the 2021 NFL draft. He is entering the final season of his initial four-year rookie contract, valued at $12.75 million total.

However, Newsome will earn just $2.4 million in salary in 2024, which is just one of several reasons he makes for a solid trade candidate in the eyes of prospective suitors such as Detroit. Cleveland has until early May to decide whether to pick up its fifth-year team option on Newsome’s deal, which would pay him nearly $13.4 million in 2025.

Any team trading for Newsome over the next month would also be dealing for that decision, though any franchise interested would presumably make the call to exercise the cornerback’s option fairly easily. The result of deciding otherwise will result in Newsome hitting unrestricted free agency next March.

Newsome has started 39 of the 41 regular-season games he has played across his first three NFL seasons. He allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just 58% of their pass attempts across 67 targets and surrendered a collective passer rating of only 76.4, per Pro Football Focus.

The cornerback also tallied 14 pass breakups and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, per Pro Football Reference. Newsome added a half-sack on the season for the league’s top defense in terms of yardage surrendered per game, according to The Football Database.

Browns Have 3 Starting Cornerbacks on Current Roster

Martin Emerson, Browns

GettyCornerback Martin Emerson Jr. of the Cleveland Browns.

Given his talent and accomplishments, particularly last season, along with his moderate salary, it doesn’t make sense for the Browns to shop Newsome except for the fact that the team has two other starting-level cornerbacks who are arguably better.

Denzel Ward and Martin Emerson Jr. — the latter of whom still has two years remaining on a cheap rookie deal — are the team’s top two cornerbacks and play on the outside.

Meanwhile, Newsome typically lines up in the slot when all three players are on the field together.

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