The Cleveland Browns are still weighing the decision to pick up Jedrick Wills’ fifth-year option, and if they choose to go in a different direction at left tackle, Taylor Lewan could be an intriguing option.
Lewan was released by the Tennessee Titans this offseason in a cap-saving move but will likely have his suitors as a free agent. Lewan is a three-time Pro Bowler and has posted strong PFF grades in both run and pass blocking when healthy.
However, his bugaboo in recent years has been staying on the field. He’s had two ACL injuries in two years and has played in just 20 games over the past three seasons. Lewan played in just two games last season due to a torn ACL he suffered against the Buffalo Bills.
Lewan was pegged as a fit for the Browns by CBS Sports, which matchmade teams with their ideal free agent.
“Cleveland could certainly use a left tackle this offseason, especially given Jedrick Wills’ struggles. Wills has allowed 17 sacks over the past three seasons, including eight last season (with 37 pressures allowed). A veteran upgrade is needed here, so why not bring in the recently released Lewan?” Jared Dubin of CBS Sports wrote. “Injuries over the past three seasons have really limited Lewan (who is 31), but he still has some good football left in him. Allowing four sacks and 22 pressures in his last full season (2021) is enough to bring in veteran competition for Wills’ job.”
Bringing in Lewan would also reunite him with his former tackle partner Jack Conklin, who holds down the right side for the Browns.
Browns Have Made Decision on Wills’ Option: Report
The Browns selected Wills No. 10 overall in 2020 and he became the immediate starter at left tackle. While he’s shown his upside for spurts at a time, his play has been inconsistent.
The Browns have until May 1 to decide on Wills’ fifth-year option, which will cost them $14.175 million for the 2024 season. It’s a decent price for a premier position and it sounds like the team is comfortable pulling the trigger on the option, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
“The Browns were pleased with Wills’ progress in 2022 and will likely pick up the option for 2024,” Cabot reported in February. “It’s $14.175 million — fully guaranteed when exercised — unless they negotiate a multi-year deal.”
Browns Have Another Decision to Make at Center
The Browns have locked up key pieces of their line in Wyatt Teller, Joel Bitonio and Conklin, but have a hole in the middle at center. The team was very fortunate when they signed Ethan Pocic last season. He was originally slated to be the backup but stepped in when Nick Harris went down and was outstanding.
Unfortunately for the Browns, Pocic might have been a little too good. He’ll be a free agent this offseason and is expected to test the market after the strong season.
Pocic’s market value is about $7.2 million a year according to Spotrac. If he departs, the Browns will likely go with Harris, with Cabot reporting that the Browns “still believe in him as a starter.”