On the defensive side of the ball, the cornerback position is one of the utmost importance. They play a crucial role in order to keep opposing offenses in check. In this article, we will be taking a look at the Browns roster to see which of the current eight cornerbacks are likely to stay or leave.
It only seems logical to start with the most obvious candidate to return next year and that is Denzel Ward. The 2018 fourth overall pick signed a four-year deal worth a fully guaranteed $29 million, so I think it’s a safe bet that he remains in Cleveland. Not only does the money keep him in town, but the production as well. The rookie recorded 53 tackles, defended 11 passes and intercepted three. He was in talks for defensive rookie of the year until he got derailed by injuries.
Next up is T.J. Carrie who left Oakland after three years to sign a four year deal worth $31 million. He is owed roughly $7 million in each of the next three seasons if he should remain a Brown, as I expect he will. Carrie was the only cornerback to play in all 16 games and produced consistently with 74 tackles and eight passes defended. Carrie should remain a Brown until his contract expires.
Then, there is Terrance Mitchell who has bounced around the league a little. He agreed to a $10 million deal over three years. In my opinion, Mitchell was having a productive year before he broke his arm/wrist which caused him to miss 10 weeks. Mitchell’s 38 tackles and six defensed passes is respectable for eight games of action. I believe he will return next year. Mitchell is owed $2.5 million in each of the next two seasons although there is a potential out prior to the 2019 season, but it would cost $1.3 million in dead cap.
The next couple guys are less likely to remain on the team like E.J. Gaines. He was limited to just six games due to injuries. He missed two games to a concussion and when he returned to action he suffered another one so the Browns shut him down by placing him on injured reserve. Since Gaines was only on a one year deal, I don’t expect a high percentage on his return, although I can see it as a possibility if it is another one year contract.
He may be a bit of an unknown, but I can see Tavierre Thomas playing for the Browns again. The rookie only played a reserve role appearing in 13 games. He is under a three year contract at cheap price ($1.7 million) so it won’t cost Cleveland much to see what the youngster has in the tank.
I don’t expect these next three guys to be in Cleveland moving forward. Phillip Gaines and Juston Burris were both on a one year deals worth just over $1 million collectively and each appeared in just four games.
Howard Wilson is a curious case. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 draft and agreed to a four year, $3 million deal. The problem is that Wilson hasn’t played a single snap in two years due to injuries. This definitely hurts his chances of staying in Cleveland.
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