On this week’s Monday Night Football, the San Francisco 49ers continued their undefeated streak, picking up their fourth win against the hapless Cleveland Browns, 31-3, and dropping their opponents to a 2-3 win-loss record. In this nationally televised game, quarterback Baker Mayfield continued what appears to be a protracted slump after a successful rookie season, completing just eight out of his 22 passes and getting intercepted twice. Furthermore, last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick was sacked four times, with Niners rookie defensive end Nick Bosa dropping him twice in Monday night’s game.
As opined on Tuesday by Cleveland.com, Mayfield’s inability thus far to build on his rookie campaign — as well as many of the Browns’ struggles against San Francisco — could be blamed on the team’s lackluster offensive line. The outlet pointed out that tackles Chris Hubbard and Greg Robinson were especially ineffective against the Niners’ defense, failing to provide adequate protection for Mayfield and leaving him “running for his life.” With that in mind, it was suggested that the Browns should consider trading for the Washington Redskins’ seven-time All-Pro tackle, Trent Williams, who has yet to play in the 2019 NFL season due to a contract holdout.
Despite his status as an elite offensive lineman, Cleveland.com noted that the Browns could likely afford a player like Williams, as Mayfield is in the second year of his rookie contract, with the team also doing a good job of managing its salary cap. Given those factors, as well as Cleveland’s current strengths and weaknesses, the publication suggested that the Browns could offer a package that includes young cornerback Denzel Ward and two future draft picks — a first-rounder and a third-rounder — in order to acquire Williams from Washington.
“With how well the secondary is playing, Ward is becoming expendable,” Cleveland.com observed. “Yet he is still considered a promising prospect as a former No. 4 overall selection.”
While the Browns and Redskins were described as “ideal trade partners” — the Redskins are currently 0-5 and had recently fired head coach Jay Gruden — Cleveland coach Freddie Kitchens played it coy when he was asked on Tuesday about the possibility of a deal taking place before the NFL’s Week 9 trade deadline.
“I do not make those decisions. [General manager John Dorsey] makes those decisions. My job is to get the guys that we have to play good…. John and I do an excellent job communicating with each other but those conversations will remain with us.”
Although the Browns still have several weeks to make a deal before the trade deadline hits next month, Cleveland.com concluded by warning that the team will have to act quickly in order to salvage Mayfield’s season and prevent him from spending the rest of the year dominated by opposing defenses.