NFL football fans around the country found disappointment in the lack of trade deadline deals this week.
Perhaps no fanbase was more disappointed than that of the Cleveland Browns.
There is a popular sentiment that Cleveland is one or two defensive players away from a real playoff run.
The year the @Browns are in contention for the playoffs…and the year they could most benefit from a mid-season trade….we do nothing
If we misses the playoffs this year I am 100% putting it on Andrew Berry and the front office for choosing to not do anything for our defense
— Byron Felix (@Fix_my_Felix) November 3, 2020
Landing a solid safety or linebacker seemed like a natural pathway for the Browns to take.
Andrew Berry failed to make such a deal, or any other deal, as the deadline passed.
But that doesn’t mean the Browns’ general manager wasn’t working the phones.
On a Zoom call with reporters this week, Berry explained,
“We did explore a number of different possible transactions. I would say maybe a couple of things got perhaps within striking distance but either moved away from us or we moved away from it for various reasons.”
Berry noted the general lack of deal-making around the league.
He noted how the expanded playoffs increased the number of teams with a real shot at making the postseason.
Fewer teams out of the running decreased the number of sellers at this point in the season.
Did the Browns Fall Behind Their Competition?
Several contending teams added pieces to their defenses in the days leading up to the trade deadline.
That includes both of the teams ahead of the Browns in the race for the AFC North Division Title.
Baltimore took on Yannick Ngakoue while Pittsburgh added linebacker Avery Williamson.
There were 13 trades in the month before the trade deadline.
Eleven involved defensive players, including 6 linebackers and one defensive back.
A lot of pass rushers getting moved before the trade deadline… kinda wish the @Browns would consider pulling the trigger on one
— normal guy nick (@nickw_8) October 28, 2020
Cleveland Browns fans can wonder how Kwon Alexander (New Orleans) or Desmond King (Tennessee) would impact their defense.
But for now, Berry hopes a healthier roster and more games under their belt will be enough to bolster Joe Woods’ unit.
During his mid-season presser with the Cleveland press corps, Berry said:
“I am not naive to the fact that really a playoff appearance for any franchise is special because each season really is sacred and the chance to compete and ultimately get in the tournament,”
But Berry and the rest of the Browns’ brain trust have a plan to build a winning club and culture.
Cleveland’s 5-3 record might feel less than satisfying after their disappointing showing against Oakland.
But matching that record in the second half is probably enough to put the Browns in the playoffs.
That is a good first-season step and puts less pressure on Kevin Stefanski and Baker Mayfield to continue their progress next year.
“We are really happy with the team that we have in place, and we are looking forward to the next eight games,” said Berry.