Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: Which games could be best suited for national TV primetime slots?

With the Browns returning to Berea on Monday for the start of voluntary workouts, we’re going to go ahead and consider this the last official week of the offseason.

Let’s celebrate with five of your questions on this soggy Friday.

There's been a lot of buzz about the Browns 2019 schedule potentially including multiple prime-time games. And given that the NFL will be celebrating its 100th season, it would seem natural that the NFL would want to highlight some historical matchups, like the Browns vs. Jets to commemorate the first-ever Monday night game. But what about the Browns vs. Rams? The Rams are once again a dominant team, and they were originally the Cleveland Rams. So it will likely be a really good game and there's a strong historical connection to these two franchises. Has there been any talk of the NFL exploiting this angle, or do you think the league and TV networks have any interest in it? -- Pete F., Tunisia

These types of discussions involve very important people who are on a need-to-know basis and, unfortunately, I don’t fit into that category. Regardless, I can safely tell you the Browns, no matter what you read or hear, are viewed as one of the hottest commodities in the NFL this season and are certainly prepared to play in a handful of primetime games this season. It could start as early as Week 1, whether it be against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football or a part of one of the two Monday Night Football slots. We’ll find out for sure soon enough.

With that in mind, here are our top five candidates for Browns primetime games in 2019.

  • Browns-Patriots: The NFL already paired up Baker Mayfield and Tom Brady for their NFL100 Super Bowl commercial, so it only makes sense for this matchup to get some primetime exposure.
  • Rams-Browns: The aforementioned history angle is great, but this would get people excited based on how these teams are expected to look on the field in the here and now.
  • Browns-Steelers: This does not require an explanation.
  • Browns-Ravens: The Week 17 finale had a national audience watching in CBS’ premium window, and the teams didn’t disappoint. Mayfield vs. Lamar Jackson could turn into quite a rivalry over the years.
  • Browns-Cardinals/49ers: One of these games has to get the primetime treatment, right? Storylines abound for either of these cross-country trips, especially if Arizona uses the No. 1 pick on Kyler Murray.

With the announcement that the Browns will be receiving new uniforms for the 2020 season, take a look back at the team's appearance from its inception in 1946 all the way through 2019.

Could the Browns pick up Ndamukong Suh before the draft? Suh would make a great addition to an already improved defensive front. Even if it's for a 1-year deal. -- Alan S., Barrington, New Hampshire

Suh is still available and the Browns still have some salary cap room to work with, so it’s impossible to rule anything out at this point -- I’m done ruling out Dorsey with any hypothetical after what he was able to swing to land Odell Beckham Jr. It should just be noted what Dorsey said earlier this week at the NFL’s Annual Meeting. The Browns are now in a different phase of what’s been a major facelift over the last year. The finances are different and will continue to be now that there’s a lot of players Cleveland would like to keep around for a while.

"I think you're at a point right now in terms of this free agency period where you have to very selective and you've gotta make it a club-friendly deal moving forward," Dorsey said. "By no means do you want to diminish the skill set, you still want good football players. But you also have to be cognizant of '20 and '21."

Now that we know Kareem Hunt will miss only eight games, which running back could get shipped and how many do you think we will keep on the 53 -- Marcus R., Chula Vista, California

This has been a common storyline since the Hunt acquisition, but it’s not one Freddie Kitchens was all too interested in discussing earlier this week. The answer was in response to speculation regarding Duke Johnson, but it could basically apply to any segment of the roster.

"I don’t know why we would ever want to, like, just voluntarily give up a good football player,” Kitchens said. “Duke Johnson is a good football player. Duke Johnson will have a role on our football team. All these guys that are here will have a role. I don’t when it just became a necessity to trade Duke Johnson because we signed Kareem Hunt. And I know I’ve heard that a lot. I just don’t respond to it until somebody asks me. I don’t know why we would voluntarily do that."

Said Dorsey: "I've told you all along, I think Duke Johnson is a very talented football player. I envision him doing really nice things for the Cleveland Browns."

As for how many the Browns keep on the 53-man roster, the usual allotment is either three or four, depending on whether the team keeps a fullback. Remember, Hunt’s suspension means he won’t be eligible to be a part of the 53-man roster until Week 9, so that group of three or four won’t count him until he’s cleared to play.

Dorsey has good history of drafting local Ohio players like Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, Denzel Ward. For the upcoming draft, which local kid is worthy of being selected with the 49th pick? -- Gurjit S., Rocklin, California

Two come to mind right away. Cornerback Justin Layne, who played his high school ball at Benedictine and starred at Michigan State, should come off the board right around the midpoint of the second round. Ohio State’s Dre’Mont Jones, a defensive tackle who played at Cleveland’s Saint Ignatius High School, is more of a polarizing prospect -- he’s been mocked anywhere from late first round to the third -- would make a lot of sense for the Browns at that point of the draft, too.

What are some quarterbacks names in late rounds Browns could be looking for? 5th round? -- Jim K., Medina

I’ll throw out a few, and that’s as far as I’ll go because I’ve spent nearly my entire tenure at ClevelandBrowns.com writing about college quarterbacks, and I’m going to relish a draft where it’s not a top priority.

Brett Rypien - Boise State
Gardner Minshew - Washington State
Trace McSorely - Penn State
Tyree Jackson - Buffalo
Clayton Thorson - Northwestern

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