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Browns Mailbag: Could Browns end up with even more primetime games in 2019?

We’re rolling into Easter weekend with four of your questions on this rainy Good Friday.

Since I lack a PhD in calculus, could you please explain the flex options networks have at the end of the season? Is it possible for the Browns to get flexed into one more national game? -- David S., Port Washington, New York

I don’t know if a PhD is required, but a bookmark of the NFL’s lengthy flexing rules is a must.

One thing we know for certain: The Browns’ four primetime games can’t be affected in a negative way by the NFL’s flexible scheduling rules. Sunday Night games can’t be changed until Week 5 and Monday night and Thursday night games aren’t eligible to be flipped. Basically, from Week 5 to 17, the NFL and its TV partners have the ability to tinker with the Sunday games and move the best possible matchup into the primetime slot. The NFL permits just two or fewer games to be flexed during Weeks 5 and 10 and then it’s open season after that. 

So, to answer your question, yes, the Browns very much could have even more primetime games added to their schedule. They could be added even before the Browns host the Steelers for Thursday Night Football in Week 11, but the better odds are on any one of the games from Weeks 12-17. The NFL needs to make its decision at least 12 days in advance of the games it’s moving with the exception of Week 17, when it can make tweaks as late as six days ahead of time.

Gribbs, if you had to pick ONE moment in time that finally changed “the culture” for the BROWNS .. .what would it be? -- Thomas M., Massillon

There are a bunch of different possibilities to this question, and that’s a very good thing. It’s been a long road back to where the Browns currently stand, and the journey isn’t over yet. The Browns don’t see 7-8-1 as anything to be satisfied with, and the ultimate goal, as coach Freddie Kitchens has stated numerous times, is to win the Super Bowl.

With that in mind, my personal choice is Week 3 of last season when Baker Mayfield made his Browns debut. Not only did he look impressive, but he also led the team to its first victory in the past 19 tries. The Browns needed a win and a franchise quarterback, and it seemingly got both in the same moment. It was a tremendous moment seen by millions on the national stage of Thursday Night Football and it’s a night few in Cleveland will forget.

The Browns' 2019 regular-season schedule has been released. Check out how the season unfolds with this photo gallery.

I was hoping for Jeffery Simmons at 17 before the trade. If Dorsey is still setting fifth-year contract and his value at first round, is there a possibility to trade Duke Johnson and No. 49 plus other picks to climb back in first round? Too many picks and not enough holes for eight draft picks (hopefully). -- Mark R., Star Valley, Arizona

My cop-out answer is I have no idea because very few can predict what John Dorsey and Co. will do throughout draft weekend. What I can provide is Dorsey’s answers to three different parts of your question. Based on what he said Thursday, the odds of your proposed trade seem steep, but truly anything can happen during the course of the draft.

On the possibility of trading Johnson: “I continually keep telling you all that Duke is a very talented football player. We see a lot of stuff for Duke moving forward into the future with regards to him. He is a member of this organization moving forward.”

On Jeffery Simmons: “He is a phenomenal football player. Unfortunately, he had an ACL injury recently in January. If he was there at 49, you may think about it, but you have to see what is best for the organization moving forward.”

On his interest in trading back into the first round: “If I deem it will help the Cleveland Browns, surely I will do that if it helps the organization moving forward, but the compensation on the back end cannot be outrageous. It has to work on both sides.”

With Jamie Collins gone, which LBs should we be watching for in this year's draft? -- Charles C., Sheridan, Wyoming

This is a unique year at the linebacker position. There are two absolute studs -- LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush -- before a big break in who might be the next-best prospect. If the Browns were to use their second-rounder on a linebacker, keep your eyes on Alabama’s Mack Wilson. In the third round, players such as Minnesota’s Blake Cashman, Notre Dame’s Drue Tranquill and Florida’s Vosean Joseph have been mocked in the range of Cleveland’s 80th overall selection. After that, it’s a bit of a crap shoot, but the Browns definitely maximized the value of their fifth-rounder last year with the selection of Genard Avery, so perhaps they can do it again with one of their three fifth-rounders in this year’s draft.

“I think there are some guys within this draft class that are worthy of drafting at certain spots,” Dorsey said. “I think that is how you go about this thing. There are other avenues of acquiring football players, as well.”

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