With those two leading the way, the team finished with an 11-5 record in the 2020 season, then proceeded to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football League playoffs, which was its first postseason win since 2002.
But with Landry possibly on his way out and Beckham now in sunny Southern California, the Browns need help at wideout so that newcomer Amari Cooper won’t have to carry the load alone.
The pickings seem slim right now, unless the team is willing to give up major draft capital for a proven star such as Deebo Samuel.
One name that has come up is DeSean Jackson, a veteran free agent wideout who has reportedly added the Browns to the list of teams he’d be interested in signing with.
Would Jackson be a good choice?
Jackson Has A Proven Track Record
The Los Angeles-area native is one of the more accomplished active WRs in the NFL.
A second-round draft pick in 2008, he has gone north of 1000 receiving yards in five seasons, and he has three Pro Bowl selections to his name.
Even better, he has appeared in the playoffs several times.
As a rookie, he reached the NFC Championship Game with the Philadelphia Eagles, and he played well there, posting 92 receiving yards and a touchdown versus the Arizona Cardinals.
This past season, he went to the postseason as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, and he contributed 26 yards in their loss to the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
At age 35, Jackson can give the relatively young Browns some maturity and an elder statesman to help them through dicey situations.
He recently said that he is thinking of retirement, but that a few teams could prevent that from happening.
DeSean Jackson exclusively tells me he’s contemplating retirement (despite previously saying he would return).
‘i’m not really sure if i’m going to play next year.’
— Ashley Nicole Moss (@AshNicoleMoss) April 21, 2022
One thing that should have his cause is the fact that Deshaun Watson, the team’s new starting quarterback, has gone on Instagram to show his support of bringing Jackson to “The Land.”
— Noah Weiskopf (@BrownsWithNoah) April 22, 2022
When a team’s QB is on board with a player being signed, that player can already count on the support of the most important player on that team.
Jackson is Not Who He Used To Be
Jackson was once known as a speedy receiver who could beat defensive backs downfield and make big plays.
But as he has aged, and as the wear and tear have added up, he has clearly lost his effectiveness.
The invisible line of demarcation appears to be the 2018 season, when Jackson had 774 yards and four touchdowns in 12 contests while leading the NFL with 18.9 yards per catch.
It was the fourth time he had led the league in the category.
But he only played in eight games over the next two seasons while only managing 395 yards through that entire span.
In 2021, he appeared in 16 out of 17 games for both the Raiders and the Los Angeles Rams, his former team, but he only put up 454 yards.
However, the bright spot is that he averaged a hefty 22.7 yards per reception.
If Jackson comes to Northeast Ohio, perhaps he won’t have to be an every-down receiver, and the presence of Watson and Cooper could help free him up a little bit.