Browns pull off three crazy trades: Winners and losers from the chaos in Cleveland

For years, most people have been wondering if the Browns actually had a tangible plan for success and apparently, the answer to that question is a resounding yes. 

In what will likely go down as one of wildest offseason days in NFL history, the Browns pulled off three shocking trades on Friday, and the crazy part is that they all looked like brilliant moves. The Browns used their stockpile of draft picks to acquire a quarterback (Tyrod Taylor), the NFL leader in receptions in 2017 (Jarvis Landry) and a cornerback who will likely be starting for the team in 2018 (Damarious Randall). 

The Browns might not win the AFC North in 2017, but for the first time in a long time, it's starting to feel like there's a chance they might not finish in the division cellar next season. 

Get caught up with free agency: CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora joins the Pick 6 Podcast

The Browns were our big winners from Friday, but they weren't the only ones. Let's take a look at a few other winners and losers from a day of crazy trades. 

Winners

Miami Dolphins

Gained: Fourth-round pick (2018), seventh-round pick (2019), lots of salary cap space
Lost: Jarvis Landry

If you've seen the mess that is the Dolphins' salary cap, then you know why they're being listed in the winners section. After hitting Jarvis Landry with the franchise tag in February, it became pretty clear the Dolphins were likely going to trade him, and that's because there's almost no way they were going to be able to afford to keep him and his $15.98 million cap hit for 2018. As a matter of fact, the Dolphins were so intent on getting rid of him that they allowed him to seek a trade partner.  

Before getting rid of Landry on Friday, the Dolphins were a mind-boggling $19 million over the 2018 salary cap. With Landry and his giant franchise price tag now out the door, the Dolphins are now a much more manageable (but still ugly) $3 million over the cap, according to the aptly-named Over the Cap

Basically, the Dolphins slashed some much-needed payroll and even got two picks in return from Cleveland in the form of a 2018 fourth-round pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick.

Bills

Gained: Third-round pick (65th overall)
Lost: Tyrod Taylor

If the Bills made one thing clear during the 2017 season, it's that they really, really, really didn't want to be stuck in a situation where they had to move forward with Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback. You probably remember last season when the Bills got so frustrated with Taylor that they benched him for rookie Nathan Peterman in what might go down as the worst one-week quarterback decision of all-time. 

The Bills are winners here because they did three things: They dumped a quarterback they didn't want, they got a high draft pick in return and they also just happened to shave roughly $10.5 million off their 2018 salary cap -- the cap savings from trading Taylor -- with free agency right around the corner. 

Not to mention, the Bills are now in a perfect position to pull off what would likely be one of the wildest trades of the draft. By getting the 65th overall pick from the Browns in exchange for Taylor, the Bills now have five of the top 65 picks in the NFL Draft, including two in the first round. The Bills need a quarterback and thanks to that draft ammo, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see them trade up into the top five of the draft and select their quarterback of the future. 

Tyrod Taylor

After spending the past three seasons in a city where he wasn't appreciated, Tyrod Taylor might have been the biggest individual winner of Friday's craziness, and that's because there's a good chance Browns fans are going to love him for one big reason: he doesn't turn the ball over. In 2017, Browns quarterbacks combined to throw 28 interceptions, which is 10 more than Taylor has thrown in his entire seven-year career

During their 0-16 season last year, the Browns lost six games by six points or less, and you have to think, if they would have been able to cut down on the interceptions, they would have won at least one of those games, and that's all the unselfish fans in Cleveland wanted last year: One. Simple. Win. 

The upside for Taylor is that he's actually going to have some weapons to throw to in Cleveland. Josh Gordon and Landry are both a giant step up from anyone Taylor had in Buffalo. As a matter of fact, I dare you to name the leading wide receiver in Buffalo from last season, and I bet you can't do it (this dare does not apply to Bills fans). Tight end Charles Clay led the team in receiving and LeSean McCoy was second, but I'm looking for the leading receiver who actually played the receiver position. The answer: Deonte Thompson, who caught 27 passes for 430 yards. 

Taylor has shown flashes of talent during his three years in Buffalo, and it will be interesting to see what he can do with actual talent around him in Cleveland. 

Sashi Brown

Maybe Sashi Brown was actually on to something when he decided to stockpile draft picks for two years and cut millions in salary cap space. Although Brown made some huge errors during his time as general manager in Cleveland -- he passed on Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz -- he's likely going to be remembered fondly if the Browns manage to turn things around with a strategy he put into place. 

The reason the Browns had six picks in the top 65 of this year's draft is because of the guy who used to be in charge. (That number is now five because they sent the 65th pick to Buffalo in exchange for Taylor.) Basically, the Browns' future is looking bright thanks to Brown. 

When Brown got fired by the Browns in December, he kind of got laughed at for saying that a "turnaround is coming" for Cleveland. After all, the Browns were 0-12 when he made the statement. 

Of course, it now looks like Brown might be the one who gets the last laugh. 

Saquon Barkley

There has been speculation over the past week that the Browns might take Barkley with the top pick and now, that move might actually make some sense. With Taylor locked in at quarterback, the Browns are no longer forced to take a quarterback with the top pick. As a matter of fact, since the Browns also have the fourth overall pick, it might make more sense to just take a quarterback at that spot. The Browns have been pulling off shocking move after shocking move over the past 24 hours, and nothing would be more shocking than watching a running back get taken with the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since 1995 (Ki-Jana Carter to Bengals). 

Josh Gordon

The Browns receiver was pumped when he heard about the Landry trade, and there's a good reason for that: It should open up the Browns offense so he can put up even bigger numbers. After spending two and a half seasons on the NFL's suspension list, Gordon returned for the final five games in 2017 and put up some pretty impressive numbers. His 335 receiving yards translates to 1,072 yards over a full season, and he did that with a winless team and with DeShone Kizer throwing him the ball. 

With Landry now in the offense, there's no reason to think that Gordon can't approach his 2013 numbers, when he led the NFL in receiving with 1,646 yards. Gordon is definitely taking football seriously now, and if his offseason so far is any indication, he might be the most ripped man on the planet right now. 

-Had to break the silence.. Had to let you In..

A post shared by JG (@flash) on

With Taylor, Gordon and Landry, the Browns suddenly have one of the scariest offenses in the NFL.  

Browns fans

It's been about five years since Browns fans have had anything to cheer for, and I'm guessing that Friday was like 11 holidays wrapped into one. After watching their team go 1-31 over the past two seasons, fans in Cleveland actually have a reason for optimism heading into 2018.  

Losers

AJ McCarron

If you Googled "AJ McCarron Browns" at any point before Friday, you probably would have noticed that nearly anyone who writes about the NFL was predicting that McCarron was going to end up in Cleveland during free agency, and the move would have made sense. For one, the Browns "tried" to trade for McCarron in October.

Not to mention, Hue Jackson and McCarron still have strong feelings about each other. I mean, who can forget this pregame embrace from November? 

The problem for McCarron now is that John Dorsey is calling the shots, and Dorsey has chosen to move forward with Tyrod Taylor. 

The upside of going to the Browns is that McCarron was already familiar with their offense. Now, McCarron is going to have to start over and play for a team/coach that he's unfamiliar with. Although it's not clear where he'll end up now, you have to figure his preference was Cleveland, and that's now off the table. 

Brett Hundley/DeShone Kizer

If you're Brett Hundley and one of the first big moves that your new general manager makes is trading for a new backup quarterback, that's definitely not good news for you. Although Packers coach Mike McCarthy had faith in Hundley when Aaron Rodgers went down with his collarbone injury, that faith has clearly been thrown out the window. With Kizer in town, there's a good chance that Hundley is going to lose his cushy backup gig in Green Bay. 

If I think Kizer is going to win the backup job, why is he listed in the loser's section? 

Great question. Basically, if Kizer wants to be a starting quarterback, and I'm guessing he does, that's not really possible anymore. Rodgers is going to be the Packers' starter until he decides he doesn't want to play football anymore, which means if Kizer wins the backup job, he's going to spend the next few years on the bench. That's a rough demotion for a quarterback who started 15 games in 2017. 

People planning the next 0-16 parade for the Browns

I know this sounds crazy, but after all the moves the Browns made on Friday, I think the Browns are a lock to win at least one game in 2018, which means no 0-16 parade. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories
    24/7 Scores, News, Highlights
    FREE ON ALL YOUR DEVICES