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Browns make 4 trades to open league year, add Pro Bowl experience to young roster

Posted Mar 14, 2018

Cleveland adds WR Jarvis Landry, QB Tyrod Taylor, DB Damarious Randall


Browns general manager John Dorsey worked the phones and completed four separate trades to bolster the talent level and experience to Cleveland’s young roster to open the 2018 league year.

Here are the details:

Trade 1

Browns receive:

WR Jarvis Landry

Dolphins receive:

2018 fourth-round pick (123rd overall originally from Carolina)

2019 seventh-round pick (originally from Pittsburgh)

Trade 2

Browns receive:

QB Tyrod Taylor

Bills receive:

2018 third-round pick (65th overall)

Trade 3

Browns receive:

DB Damarious Randall

2018 fourth-round pick (114th overall)

2018 fifth-round pick (150th overall)

Packers receive:

QB DeShone Kizer

2018 fourth-round pick (101st overall)

2018 fifth-round pick (138th overall)

Trade 4

Browns receive:

2019 third-round pick

Patriots receive:

DL Danny Shelton

2018 fifth-round pick (159th overall originally from Kansas City)

In addition, the team tendered restricted free agent DL Jamie Meder and extended qualifying offers to the following exclusive rights free agents: WR Josh Gordon, WR Matt Hazel, QB Kevin Hogan, OL Austin Reiter and FB Danny Vitale.

“I think anytime you can have a chance to acquire three good football players right off the bat in the trades, you've got to do it,” Dorsey said. “I give a lot of credit to everyone in football operations because we sat there for two months. We made some plans and laid some plans in regard to free agency and how we were going to attack it. We identified certain players we thought would help this organization moving forward who had the qualities we were looking for with regard to do they love football? Are they leaders at their position? Are they guys that are going to be good in the locker room? I thought the three guys in the trades fit everything we were looking for.”

The Browns still hold an enviable spot at the top of the draft after the four trades. Cleveland boasts nine picks, including the No. 1 and No. 4 pick and five overall in the first two rounds. The Browns have eight picks lined up for the 2019 draft.

“Anytime you have five picks in the top 64, that's wonderful. Any personnel guy will tell you that. The challenge will be to hit on all of these players and get really good players,” Dorsey said. “I think you can really do a good job of building your team with these players. That's not saying we can't hit in the 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s. We're going to do our due diligence. It's the extra ammunition you have with five picks in the top 64, and understanding the draft with the way it's going to work itself out, I think we will get players.”

Taylor, a former sixth-round pick out of Virginia Tech who began his career as a backup with the Baltimore Ravens, signed with Buffalo in 2015 and quickly snatched the starting job. Over three seasons, he amassed the most combined touchdowns (65) and the second-most wins (23) by a Bills quarterback in his first three years. He became just the sixth quarterback in NFL history to log consecutive seasons of 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards when he cleared the totals in 2015 (3,035/568) and 2016 (3,023/580). He’s one of just two quarterbacks with at least 8,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards since 2015.

“First and foremost, he’s a great kid. Great leader, smart as a whip,” Dorsey said. “I talked to the former head coach of Virginia Tech, Frank Beamer, and he has nothing but high praise for Tyrod Taylor. He has the physical abilities to extend the play. He's got more than enough arm talent and he doesn't turn the ball over. When you play that quarterback position at a high level like he does, I think that will do nothing but help us moving forward.”

Taylor completed better than 61 percent of his passes in all three seasons as Buffalo’s starter, helping him notch the best mark (62.7) in Bills franchise history. He also has the best quarterback rating (92.5) among Buffalo quarterbacks with a minimum of 750 pass attempts.

"We view Tyrod as a perfect fit to lead our team," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "He possesses the qualities we want of a starting quarterback. He’s smart, a leader, and an efficient passer that doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s a winner and has been very productive as a starting quarterback in this league. The expectation is for Tyrod to come in and be our quarterback, get himself acclimated to our offense and help us get to winning as quickly as possible."

A 2013 second-round pick out of LSU, Landry, 25, topped 80 catches in each of his first four seasons, racking up the second-most receptions (400) in the NFL during that stretch. No player in NFL history caught more passes in his first four seasons than Landry, who beat Anquan Boldin’s previous record by 58. He broke the Dolphins’ franchise record this past season with 112 catches, a career-high that led the NFL, and his totals in 2015 (110) and 2016 (94) rank second and third on Miami’s all-time list.

"Jarvis Landry is obviously one the most productive wide receivers in the National Football League," Jackson said. "It’s really exciting that we had the opportunity to put him on our team. He’s going to bring a fire and competitive energy to our team that will make us better. He’s a playmaker and a difference maker that we expect to make our offense go."

Landry cleared 1,000 yards in 2015 and 2016, his first two of three Pro Bowl seasons. He posted a career-best 1,157 yards in 2015 and has his best yards-per-catch average (12.1) in 2016.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Dorsey said. “One-hundred plus catches two years, three-time Pro Bowler. Loves the game of football, ultra competitor. You're lucky to get a guy like that on your team. He is a professional. he's got deep passion for the game. I think that will carry over here moving forward.”

Randall, 25, started 30 games over three seasons in Green Bay. The former first-round pick out of Arizona State racked up 10 interceptions, including a team-best four in 2017. A free safety in college, Randall primarily played cornerback for the Packers.

"Damarious is a talented and versatile defensive back that will come in and play safety for us," Jackson said. "He’s a really good athlete that makes plays on the ball. He will fill a need for us and we feel he can make a difference for us in our secondary."

Randall posted interceptions in three consecutive weeks (5-7) this past season, including his second career pick-six when he returned a pass 21 yards for a score in Green Bay’s 35-31 victory over the Cowboys. He finished the season with 47 tackles.

“Demarious is very versatile,” Dorsey said. “I've long admired him when he was playing safety back at Arizona State. He's a first-round pick a couple of years ago, which shows you what his skill set is. He's proven his versatility where he can play corner, he can play safety. I'm glad we got all three of those guys.”

Kizer, a second-round pick in 2017, started 15 games during his rookie season. The former Notre Dame quarterback completed 53.6 percent of his passes for 2,894 yards, 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

Shelton, the 12th-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, made 128 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 45 starts over three seasons. He's been regarded as one the league’s top interior defenders the past two seasons and is expected to compete for a starting role on New England's defensive line.

“When there was an offer from New England and the compensation offered, we felt it would be best to put Danny in a nice situation to help him extend his career but also we have some more assets coming up in the future,” Dorsey said. “In my four weeks here watching (Kizer) play, I could see there was a learning curve, he was getting better and better. In order to move this thing forward and to acquire someone like Randall, I thought it would be a natural move to let him continue to grow and help the Cleveland Browns continue to grow with Randall on the defense.”

"It's tough to see Danny and DeShone move on to new teams," Jackson said. "They have both given their all to the Cleveland Browns and I wish them nothing but success with their new teams."

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