Browns Tried ‘Multiple’ Times to Trade for $15 Million Receiver: Report

Jerry Jeudy, Broncos

Getty Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy of the Denver Broncos.

The Cleveland Browns have known they need more firepower in the receiver room for months and tried in earnest to acquire some ahead of this season.

Jeff Legwold of ESPN reported on Saturday, December 16, that Cleveland made several concerted efforts to deal for Denver Broncos wideout Jerry Jeudy, but to no avail.

“[Jeudy] was the subject of trade rumors for most of the offseason,” Legwold wrote. “Team sources said the Cleveland Browns made multiple runs at acquiring Jeudy.”

Jeudy was coming off of a career campaign in 2022, hauling in 67 catches for 972 yards and 6 TDs.

Pursuit of Jerry Jeudy Provides Insight into Type of Receiver Browns Are Seeking

Jerry Jeudy

GettyDenver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

Cleveland’s interest in Jeudy offers insight into the type of player the Browns were/are/will be looking to add to the offense — a speed-first wideout, preferably with a first-round pedigree, playing on a rookie deal.

Jeudy is a big-play threat with field-stretching speed who could play opposite Amari Cooper on the outside. A former first-rounder (No. 15 overall in 2020 out of Alabama), draft analyst Lance Zierlein accurately projected Jeudy as a first-year starter.

Jeudy’s type of talent demands a significant salary. However, he is playing in the fourth season of his initial four-year, $15 million contract, which renders him relatively affordable in 2023. The savings/talent combination the Browns sought in Jeudy will extend into 2024, when Denver will pay the wideout $13 million on his fifth-year option.

Had Cleveland executed a trade for Jeudy, the team would have acquired the receiver’s final two cost-controlled seasons as well as an option to keep him around through 2026 via the franchise tag if the Browns deemed Jeudy worthy of that investment.

Jeudy is not having a spectacular season, though part of his relative lack of production can be attributed to the Broncos’ dismal 1-5 start. Through 12 games, including eight starts, Jeudy has caught 42 passes for 507 yards and 1 touchdown, per Pro Football Reference.

Amari Cooper Fighting Through Injuries Down Stretch Run

Cleveland Browns receiver Amari Cooper left Sunday's game against the Rams with a concussion.

GettyCleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Injuries have decimated the Browns offense this season, though wide receiver is the one position group that has managed to remain relatively healthy. A big part of that has been Cooper’s ability to stay on the field despite multiple maladies that could have knocked him out for several games.

Cooper has started all 13 of Cleveland’s contests this season but has left several games part-way through due to injuries. He was questionable against the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend due to a concussion he suffered during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams the game prior.

The wide receiver also left the Browns’ game against the Denver Broncos three weeks back after suffering a rib injury. However, X-rays came back negative and he was able to suit up against the Rams.

Cooper has been productive by any standard this season, though his numbers are more impressive considering the injuries through which he’s been forced to play and all the turnover the Browns have experienced at quarterback. The team has started four QBs already this year and still has four games left to play. Cooper has caught 57 passes for 876 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2023 after putting up 1,160 yards and 9 TDs on 78 grabs last season.

The Browns offense tried to supplement Cooper with a true No. 2 receiver in Jeudy both prior to the season and ahead of the October 31 trade deadline. Cleveland may need to replace Cooper altogether next season, as he will cost the team nearly $24 million and is thereby a top candidate to end up a salary cap casualty.

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