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Browns offseason strategy under Andrew Berry: 'Be as opportunistic as possible'

Berry’s offseason strategy has always been geared toward exploring upgrades at every position, and that isn’t changing in 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Berry approaches every offseason as though the Browns have an empty roster sheet.

That's the strategy Berry outlined Tuesday at the 2022 NFL Combine when he was asked whether the Browns have prioritized any positions ahead of the free agency period, set to begin March 16, and the upcoming draft, set to start April 28. For Berry, every offseason is a new opportunity to upgrade each position, regardless of how much talent is already on the team, and he described that strategy in a unique way at the podium during GM availability.

"We go into each offseason with the thought process of as if we had an expansion team," he said. "We look at every possibility and every opportunity to try and match it to our resources, costs and really try to be as opportunistic as possible to upgrade the entire talent base."

The odds are still likely that the Browns add talent at wide receiver, defensive tackle and edge rusher, the three positions that have been most widely discussed as the top offseason needs for the Browns in 2022, but Berry's point is that the Browns will spend just as much time exploring ways to improve every other position as well. 

That's the best way he's learned to go about the offseason in his three years as a GM, and that's not changing despite the abundance of talent the Browns already have at several positions. 

"If we have opportunities to match resources with talent, we do want to continue to add talent to the roster," Berry said. "That applies to every position."

General Manager Andrew Berry speaks at his media availability at the 2022 NFL Combine in Indianapolis Indiana

The Browns have been well-stocked with resources in each of Berry's three seasons at the helm of the front office — they've used 15 total draft picks the last two years and have been among the most aggressive teams in free agency in that period. The Browns have nine total draft picks for 2022 and have a healthy amount of cap space to make a run at some of the top free agents when the market opens in two weeks, so the ammunition is still strong for Year 3.

Much has been speculated about how those resources will be used, and the front office, of course, has conducted its own speculation on what other teams around the league will do as well. But Berry explained Tuesday that their predictions are rarely 100 percent accurate, which is why flexibility — and an openness toward seeking upgrades at every position — is a necessary step toward building the best possible roster each offseason.

"The importance of being prepared, being flexible and being able to pivot does not change whether you have one first-round pick or three first-round picks," he said specifically about the draft strategy. "If you are in a situation where you have multiple, really the thought and preparation before the draft comes in terms of strategy, whether you are going to select a player, whether you are going to turn one of those draft assets into multiple draft assets and ultimately how you may move up and down the board."

Berry didn't ignore the speculation about the Browns targeting the wide receiver and D-line positions, though. He's fully aware that both positions have multiple players who are set to hit free agency, but each position is still regarded just as highly of a position in need of an upgrade as, say, the offensive line, where all five of the Browns' primary starters from last season are under contract for 2022.

"Ultimately, we're going to prioritize opportunity," he said. "There are a number of ways to assemble a team or construct a roster that ultimately allows you to reach your goal of winning games. We will take the next couple of weeks, and like I said, try and map our resources for opportunities."

Those next couple of weeks will be full of headlines and news as transactions around the league surface, and it's a safe bet to believe the Browns will still be active as they look to improve every area of the roster.

So buckle up.

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