Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 6/8/12

Watson celebrates (excessively) - (Photo: John Kuntz / PD)

The Browns imported quite a bit to their offense from this most recent NFL draft between Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz. Meanwhile Mike Holmgren has been on record predicting a “big jump” for the team this year. If that ever comes to pass, the rookies will certainly be a part of the equation. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Browns make a big jump without Trent Richardson being a major factor. In addition to that, it seems to me there is absolutely no way for the team to make a leap without some other breakout performances. Immediately that makes me look to a few of the guys1 who will be working hard for their next contracts.

First up, let’s look at Benjamin Watson. Watson signed a three-year deal worth $12 million and is due $2.88 million in 2012. Despite some excessive celebration penalties, Watson’s time in Cleveland has been viewed as mostly positive. Watson had 68 catches for 763 yards in 2010 including three touchdowns over 16 games. Last season he appeared in 13 games and like the rest of the team, his production dropped off with only 37 catches for 410 yards. Watson will be 32 in December and will most likely be looking for at least one more NFL contract.

Brandon Jackson is up next. Jackson signed a two-year deal with the Browns for $4.5 million. He is due to make about $1.65 million this season. He will turn 27 this year, but should have plenty of “tread left on the tires” so to speak. Running backs are usually measured in carries and Brandon Jackson, while not an elite level guy, certainly has potential to be a valuable contributor as a spot-starter and a third down back. In his career he only has 347 attempts. Jackson was in the same draft class as Adrian Peterson who has carried the ball over 1400 times just to look at the opposite end of the spectrum. Marshawn Lynch has carried the ball over 1100 times since going to Buffalo in that draft.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about “Pay Da Man” Josh Cribbs. Josh Cribbs has been Mr. Cleveland Brown for much of his career in Cleveland. He’s been a standout on special teams, but not as much lately between injuries, aging and rules changes. He’s had middling results transitioning to the receiver spot over the last three years. If he’s ever going to break out as a wide receiver and have it come together, now would be a great time as he looks for his next NFL contract. And to be fair, Josh Cribbs has gotten better every year.

 Year  G  Rec  Rec Yds  TD  Rush  Rush Yds  Total Yards 2005  14      1             7   -       -               -                     7 2006  16   10           91   -        2             11                 102 2007  16      3           37   -        9             61                   98 2008  15      2           18    1     29           163                 181 2009  16   20         135    1     55           381                 516 2010  15   23         292    1     20             66                 358 2011  16   41         518    4        7             25                 543

Sometimes when the offense is as bad as it has been, it is tough to see when a guy like Josh Cribbs might actually be making progress. Josh Cribbs was 94th in the league with 41 receptions for a pitiful offense in 2011. If the offense is even slightly better and Cribbs can add 10 catches to that total it will vault him up to the 60s. It will also put him within striking distance of Josh Morgan’s best year in 2009 when he caught 52 passes. That was good enough to score a big contract from the Washington Redskins.

More importantly though, it would be good this year for the Browns.

Obviously trying to identify individual pieces of an offense that will single-handedly result in a “big jump” is problematic at best and probably impossible. Everything has to work together from the game planning, protection, execution and yes, even a bit of luck. At the same time, you can make your own luck sometimes and having a few guys with that extra bit of motivation knowing they need to find their next paycheck could certainly work to the Browns’ favor this year.

___________________________________

  1. there are plenty of others who have incentive to work for big money like Jordan Norwood who is younger and has restricted hooks in him. I’m just focusing on three bigger names who will be real real real free agents.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Manfred blames MLBPA for no significant rule changes in 2017

Report: Zach Britton has potential oblique injury

The Rock returns to WWE, leaves CM Punk a voicemail after 'Raw'

After outfield collision, Ichiro pranks teammate and claims he’s been cut

Simeon Rice gets vulgar with radio host over HOF debate

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ronda Rousey to be guest star on NBC’s ‘Blindspot’

Lakers replace Jim Buss with Magic Johnson, fire Kupchak

Report: James Harrison, Steelers share mutual interest in 2017 return

Jimmy Garoppolo’s mom keeping him up to speed on his trade rumors

Report: Clippers intent on keeping both Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

Slam dunks and startups: How all-star technology took over the NBA in The Big Easy

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 100 games with two different teams

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker