Browns receiver Amari Cooper skipped the first day of mandatory minicamp and is looking for an extension.


Browns receiver Amari Cooper skipped the first day of mandatory minicamp and is looking for an extension.


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Browns receiver Amari Cooper skipped the first day of mandatory minicamp and is looking for an extension.

The Cleveland Browns have constructed an impressive roster, but major questions remain at the all-important position of offensive tackle.

The massive investment Cleveland made in quarterback Deshaun Watson makes even less sense if the team isn’t able to provide him with adequate blindside protection, a reality which demands the Browns take a hard look at upgrading the offensive line before the 2024 season begins in September. But high-level left tackles aren’t just hanging around the free agent and trade markets ripe for the plucking by needy NFL offenses.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report authored a reasonable, though costly, three-team trade proposal on June 27 that would see the Browns acquire All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith and a third-round pick from the New York Jets in exchange for parting ways with Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper.

The Jets, in turn, would land star wideout Davante Adams from the Las Vegas Raiders, while the Raiders would acquire Cooper’s services as well as a 2025-first rounder from the Jets.

Injuries, Unreliable Play Plagued Browns Offensive Tackles Last Season

Tyron Smith

GettyOffensive tackle Tyron Smith, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys.

Knox’s proposal, while workable, is hard to fathom considering the gravity of all three players involved. However, his argument on Cleveland’s side of the equation includes the fact that Cooper is unhappy with his current contract as he enters the final season of a five-year, $100 million deal.

“Cooper is seeking a new contract and wasn’t present at mandatory minicamp,” Knox wrote. “Smith is expected to start at left tackle in New York this season, but the first-round selection of Olumuyiwa Fashanu gives the Jets an alternative. The Browns could use the veteran insurance, as tackles Jedrick Wills Jr., Jack Conklin and Dawand Jones are all returning from season-ending injuries. And while losing Cooper would be a blow to the Browns offense, Cleveland has a promising group of young wideouts.”

Beyond the injury issues, Jones was just a fourth-round rookie last season and played almost exclusively on the right side of the line. Conklin has an All-Pro history but hasn’t made one of those teams since 2020 and has played in just 22 of a possible 51 regular-season games over the past three seasons combined due to injury.

Meanwhile, Wills is entering the final year of his contract in 2024-25 and was among the worst offensive tackles in the league last season. He finished ranked 64th at his position out of 81 players who saw enough snaps to qualify, per Pro Football Focus (PFF).


Tyron Smith Remains Among Best Tackles in NFL When Healthy

Tyron Smith

GettyOffensive tackle Tyron Smith, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys.

Smith was a five-time All-Pro left tackle over his 13-year career with the Cowboys. He also made eight Pro Bowls during that span and has a legitimate chance to eventually earn entrance into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

PFF ranked Smith fourth among 81 offensive tackles in the NFL last season, which would make him far and away the best player at that position on the Browns offensive line should he land in Cleveland by way of a trade.

The greatest concern surrounding Smith, who will play next season at 34 years old, is his durability in recent seasons. He played 13 of 17 games for Dallas in 2023, but appeared in just four contests the year prior, dressed for 11 outings in 2021 and missed all but two games in 2020.

Another issue with Knox’s proposal is the departure of Cooper from a pass game that has relied heavily on him over his two years in orange and brown. Cooper has caught 150 passes for 2,410 receiving yards and 14 TDs during his time in Cleveland.

Max Dible covers the NFL, NBA and MLB for Heavy.com, with a focus on the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns. He covered local and statewide news as a reporter for West Hawaii Today and served as news director for BigIslandNow.com and Pacific Media Group’s family of Big Island radio stations before joining Heavy. More about Max Dible



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