Joe Thomas became the first Browns player since the franchise returned to Cleveland in 1999 to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
How much longer might the Browns have to wait to add another?
They have a few candidates on the roster now. Joel Bitonio, Myles Garrett and Nick Chubb all have possibilities of building Hall of Fame careers if they sustain their current pace of production, so let's dive into where each of their cases stand now.
It took four years into his career for Bitonio to earn his first Pro Bowl, but ever since his first nod in 2018, he's been widely considered one of the best guards in the game. The Pro Bowls have followed him every year since, and so have two-straight years of first-team All-Pro recognition.
Bitonio is one more Pro Bowl vote away from tying Browns Hall of Fame guards Gene Hickerson and Joe DeLamielleure with six career Pro Bowls. Hickerson and DeLamielleure also each had three first-team All-Pro awards, so Bitonio could reach each of their personal accolade levels with one more strong season as he heads into his 10th year.
Most Hall of Fame guards, however, have more Pro Bowls and All-Pro honors than Hickerson and DeLamielleure, who each had lengthy waits to enter Canton — Hickerson waited 34 years after his retirement, while DeLamielleure waited 14 years.
The average Hall of Fame guard in the modern era played in the league for 12 seasons and had eight Pro Bowls and four first-team All-Pro awards, according to the handy Hall of Fame monitor created by Pro Football Reference (we'll be using that as a guide throughout this exercise). And don't forget that Super Bowl wins always help a candidate's resume, too.
So even if Bitonio, 31, delivers one more huge season, he could still need a few more quality years to enter "lock" territory, but there's no doubt he has some of the best odds of entering the Hall among all guards in the game today.
Garrett's career is still relatively young in the scope of Hall of Fame edge rushers, but he'd certainly be on pace for a shot at Canton if he continues the elite level of production he's shown since he was taken with the first overall pick in 2017.
Garrett has four Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro awards, and the PFR averages for a modern era edge rusher are seven Pro Bowls and three All-Pro awards in 12 seasons.
All four of Garrett's Pro Bowls have come in the last five seasons, and he still could be reaching his prime as he enters his age-28 season. With double-digit sacks in each of the last five years — and 16 sacks in each of the last two seasons — Garrett has plenty of momentum toward building a strong case toward a Hall of Fame candidacy.
It's not easy for running backs to make the Hall of Fame — the average time spent in the NFL for a Hall of Fame back is 10 seasons, and that's a long time in today's era where running backs must show excellent production to remain in the league.
Chubb, though, has been a top five running back his whole career, which is about to enter its sixth season. He's earned Pro Bowl nods in each of the last four years but has yet to earn a first-team All-Pro award or a rushing title (though he's finished in the top three in three of the last four years).
The average Hall of Fame back has six Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pro honors, so if Chubb continues his current pace and finds a few All-Pro awards along the way, the odds of him stretching his career to 10 seasons will grow — and his Hall of Fame case will look strong.