The 2021 season didn’t go ideal for the Cleveland Browns.
They missed the playoffs and had too many inconsistencies to be considered a competitive unit.
Despite that, general manager Andrew Berry deserves credit for some of the moves he made in Cleveland.
Obviously, all of them didn’t work out perfectly, but some of his decisions could help shape this team for years to come.
Keeping David Njoku
In 2017, the Browns used a first-round selection on tight end David Njoku.
The organization was hopeful he could be a centerpiece to their offensive unit.
Njoku played well during his first two seasons, but then missed a majority of the 2019 campaign.
In 2020, Njoku decided to request a trade from Cleveland through his agent.
2/2 About David Njoku’s trade request today to the Browns, agent Drew Rosenhaus said: "It is in David's best interest to find a new team at this time."
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 3, 2020
He later pulled back his request and stayed with the Browns.
Njoku didn’t bring much to the table in 2020, which could’ve led to the Browns cutting or trading him.
However, the Browns decided to accept Njoku’s fifth-year option and have him rejoin the team in 2021.
It ended up being a smart decision by Cleveland as he put together the second-best campaign of his career.
Through 16 games, Njoku finished with 36 receptions, 475 receiving yards, and four touchdowns.
That was the kind of production that the Browns had been waiting for years to see from Njoku.
Berry never gave up on him, so possibly Njoku will return the favor with a team-friendly deal in the offseason.
Signing Jadeveon Clowney
The Browns desperately needed to add another legitimate pass rusher over the offseason.
Everyone knows Myles Garrett is elite, but the Browns needed more help on the defensive line.
The front office went out and signed three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.
A somewhat risky decision considering his injury history and the fact he missed a majority of the 2020 season.
Despite that, Cleveland gave Clowney a shot and it ended up working out for the Browns.
Clowney was an excellent partner to place alongside Garrett and the two of them created havoc together.
— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) January 4, 2022
In 14 games, Clowney finished with 37 tackles, nine sacks, and two fumbles forced.
He was well worth the money, but his presence also helped Garrett step up his play.
Garrett finished the season with a career-high 16 sacks and 51 tackles in 2021.
Having Clowney on the field helped take away some of the pressure from Garrett.
This was a smart move by the front office, so possibly they can bring back Clowney for the 2022 season.
Cutting Odell Beckham Jr.
Three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. never found his groove in Cleveland.
He struggled to find consistent success since joining the Browns ahead of the 2019 season.
It all came to an end in 2021 when the Browns decided to part ways with the veteran wideout.
Beckham clearly had chemistry issues with quarterback Baker Mayfield.
These problems were leading to off-the-field drama and the Browns decided to end the relationship.
They terminated the final two years of Beckham’s deal and he became a free agent.
He signed with the Los Angeles Rams shortly after his departure from Cleveland.
Beckham had plenty of success in Los Angeles and won a Super Bowl with the team.
At the end of the day, it wasn’t working out in Cleveland and Berry knew that.
He decided to end the relationship before things got even worse for both sides.
Both Beckham and the Browns organization can move on with this relationship finally over.