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The Cleveland Browns have finally righted their ship with the alignment of Paul DePodesta, Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski. Years prior, when DePodesta first took on his role, the Browns “guardrails” sheet was created to provide a common vision for the team.

Originally constructed when Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson were in Berry and Stefanski’s roles, it is unknown if there have been significant changes to those guardrails with the new regime. Berry spent time under Brown and then John Dorsey before one year in Philadelphia. His priorities are not necessarily the same as those created under DePodesta and Brown but are likely to have some similarities.

In 2019, we got a public look at those guardrails:

With the Browns looking at a few players needing extensions to their contracts soon, it is interesting to look at how some of these guardrails could impact those decisions. Primarily we will look at Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb, Wyatt Teller and Ronnie Harrison for this exercise as the guardrail “don’t pay for depth” could leave lower-level players without extension talks.

Talent Retention

  • “Churn the bottom of the roster”

  • “Play young guys to know what you have”

    • This note could become interesting for Teller and Harrison. The Browns have invested draft capital in players on the offensive line (Nick Harris, James Hudson) and safety (Grant Delpit, Richard LeCounte III) since Berry took over. Wanting to play those young guys could open up the possibility of moving on from Teller and Harrison.

    • This also applies for Ward who saw Greg Newsome II drafted this year under Berry with Greedy Williams brought in previously by Dorsey but there are generally three corners on the field at any one time. Young guys will get a chance to play with or without Ward on the field.

  • “Identify and pay early”

    • Mayfield and Ward could be under this priority which could lead to a deal getting done this offseason.

    • While Berry acquired Harrison, there was no reason to pay him early as he was not “identified” yet as being a quality starter. Similarly for Teller who had his first good season in 2020.

    • Chubb is the one player Berry would have had identified as a quality player and had a chance to sign him early during last season but failed to do so.

Key Positions

  • “QB, CB, Pass Rushers, OT”

    • This guardrail would point toward Mayfield and Ward being the team’s priority in relation to extensions.

    • While guard, running back and safety are all important positions, they are not considered “key” and could keep each of those players from getting paid a premium by the Browns.

Salary Cap