The Cleveland Browns Can Only Go Up in 2018, Right?

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 12:41 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 12:41 PM UTC

There is hope for Cleveland Browns fans. Even long-suffering Philadelphia Eagles fans now have a Super Bowl championship. Can Cleveland duplicate the Eagles' success and become Super Bowl contender anytime soon?

The most obvious answer is NO to the above question, for 2018 at least. Philadelphia has owner Jeffrey Lurie, who wanted the best team on the field possible, and the Eagles have been a strong franchise for years and finally snatched the ultimate prize.

You look at the most successful franchises and it starts with ownership. Cleveland's Jimmy Haslam is widely considered the worst owner in the NFL, AND he has an alleged fraud case in the courts relating to his ownership from which his wealth was derived, the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain. Haslam's firing of GM Sashi Brown last season was widely panned, though John Dorsey was not a bad hire for a replacement. Can the Browns win in spite of their owner? Possibly, if the tools are in place.

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Who should we take at QB ... and when?@NFL analysts have some mixed opinions.

Mock Draft Roundup »

— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) February 13, 2018

Dorsey Has to Deliver in Draft and Free Agency

After two strong drafts, Cleveland has the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the 2018 draft. The Browns' most glaring needs are a quarterback and in the secondary. The most common belief is the Browns will take either Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen for a new field general at No. 1 and Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick with the No. 4 overall pick.

There is also a rumor floating around Cleveland has a sincere interest in a more proven quarterback commodity like Kirk Cousins. By most reports, the Browns have $118 million in cap space and could add Cousins and few other quality free agents, IF they could attract them. At this juncture, any player would be going to Cleveland to get paid, not thinking about winning.

QB Deshone Kizer looks like a goner, probably packaged with a draft choice for another higher round pick. However, you don't draft a quarterback No. 1 or No. 4 and sign Cousins. Dorsey will have to decide on a commitment to winning immediately or in the future. The firing of Brown suggests Haslam wants to win now.

What to Make of the Brownies?

You can only go up after a 0-16 season. Cleveland has the worst NFL odds to win the Super Bowl (shocker) and its season win total is 'Over/Under' 4 at 5Dimes.

The Browns offer some positives, ranking 18th in rushing yards last year, having a couple of good young backs and a stable offensive line, especially if Joe Thomas returns. And the defense was 14th overall and 7th against the run.

In the AFC North, Cincinnati is in decline, Baltimore appears stuck in neutral and Pittsburgh is not going to get better; thus, there is increased hope for Cleveland and by August (maybe sooner), it might be an attractive OVER wager for season wins on NFL picks based on offseason efforts.

Keeping head coach Hue Jackson was a very strange move, but Haslam likes him. However, if Cleveland is 0-10 again or 1-9 this upcoming season, Dorsey just wasted a year of his tenure wanting his own coach. One absorbing prop at 5Dimes is: Will Cleveland be alive (-240) or eliminated (+175) from the AFC playoff race by Dec. 5? These oddsmakers have given their preference, what do you think?

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