The Cleveland Browns are one of four active NFL franchise to never reach a Super Bowl. Might that change this year for Baker Mayfield & Co. following a disappointing 2019 campaign? Here’s a look at the 2020 Browns and their NFL odds.
Cleveland Browns NFL Odds After Free Agency Week 1
The Browns were heavily hyped entering last season but that things weren’t going to go as planned was evident as early as Week 1, a 43-13 home loss to the Titans. Tennessee’s defensive backs intercepted Baker Mayfield three times in the final 15 minutes as and the Titans dominated the undisciplined Browns. They committed 18 penalties for 182 yards.
Cleveland would win a few big games and was at 6-7 and still in the playoff hunt when it visited Arizona in Week 15 as short favorites. The Cardinals rolled 38-24. During the game, coach Freddie Kitchens and receiver Jarvis Landry had a heated verbal exchange on the sideline during the fourth quarter.
As it turned out, the Browns lost each of their final three games by double digits and that would be the end of Kitchens’ tenure after just one season.
Cleveland Browns offseason moves
After firing Freddie Kitchens, the Browns were linked to several big-name coaches but settled on Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. He’s the franchise’s 18th full-time head coach, the 10th since its rebirth in 1999 and the sixth since Jimmy and Dee Haslam became the owners in 2012. Stefanski had the backing of Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta in 2019, when he interviewed with the Browns but finished runner-up to Kitchens.
Stefanski has no head coaching experience, having begun as an assistant to the head coach in Minnesota in 2006. Since then he’s been a tight ends, running backs and quarterbacks coach before taking over as offensive coordinator in 2018. Though the Browns fired Kitchens on the last Sunday of the season, they were the last team to fill their coaching vacancy after a lengthy search that encompassed nearly two weeks and eight interviews.
Stefanski hasn’t decided, or at least hasn’t revealed, whether he’ll call offensive plays next season or leave it to his new coordinator Alex Van Pelt. Van Pelt’s only experience calling plays came in 2009, when he was promoted to interim offensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills. The new defensive coordinator is Joe Woods. With Woods coaching DBs, the San Francisco 49ers led the league last year in fewest passing yards per attempt (5.92). Woods and Stefanski were in Minnesota together from 2006 to 2013.
Cleveland’s two big free-agent moves were signing tight end Austin Hooper and offensive tackle Jack Conklin. Last year, Hooper had 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns, en route to his second straight Pro Bowl appearance. Cleveland appeared set at tight end entering 2019 with David Njoku manning the position, but a broken wrist injury early in the year knocked him out for most of the season, and even when he returned he wasn’t used much.
Conklin got a three-year, $42 million contract with the Browns that makes him the third-highest paid right tackle in the NFL at $14 million a year. Conklin’s deal includes $30 million guaranteed, and $20 million guaranteed in the first year. Conklin significantly upgrades a line that struggled to protect Baker Mayfield last season. He was sacked 40 times to tie for seventh in the NFL among qualifying QBs.
Conklin was one of two Titans linemen to start every game last season, paving the way for running back Derrick Henry to win the NFL rushing title. Henry beat out the Browns’ Nick Chubb in the final week of the season, rushing for 211 yards to clinch it.
Conklin said: “I love running the ball. It’s my favorite thing to do.” And he knows Minnesota (with Stefanski calling the plays in 2019) ranked No. 4 in rushing attempts last season. The Browns were No. 22, despite having Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the backfield. Both those guys are back.
Cleveland also added defensive back help in Kevin Johnson and Karl Joseph. Johnson should slide right in as T.J. Carrie’s replacement in the slot. The ex-Texan finally stayed healthy in Buffalo last season, appearing in all 16 games for the first time since 2015. Joseph will attempt to replace Damarious Randall.
Finally, the Browns added veteran Case Keenum at quarterback to back up Mayfield. Keenum has struggled to replicate the magic he enjoyed with the Vikings in 2017, posting below-average numbers in both Denver and Washington over the past two seasons.
- Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins.
- Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans.
Cleveland Browns odds to win Super Bowl 55
The Browns have never played in a Super Bowl and are +4000 to win it next February in Tampa.