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Jerry Jeudy

Browns trade for former first-rounder

For the second offseason in a row, the Browns have traded for a depressed asset pass catcher. They’re hoping Jerry Jeudy will play better for them than he did for the Broncos.

Per reports, they’ll send over fifth- and sixth-round picks to complete the deal. The trade clears almost $13 million off the books for Denver. The price tag wasn’t higher because Jeudy has been underwhelming for most of the last four years.

As a rookie, Jeudy dropped 6 passes in a game at Los Angeles; I doubt that’s ever happened before, and I don’t think we’ll see it again. He sputtered through his second season after missing the first third of it with a high ankle sprain.

Jeudy’s best ball (by far) came in the second half of the 2022 season. He was arguably a top-10 receiver at that time, catching 50 passes for 682 yards and 4 TDs in his final nine games. During that run, he caught 78 percent of the passes thrown his way, averaging 10.6 yards per pass play (only a couple receivers each year average over 10 yards per play). But Jeudy never got it going last year, when he was thoroughly outplayed by teammate Courtland Sutton.

The Browns are looking for a receiver to play opposite Amari Cooper, and they’re hoping to get Deshaun Watson going. They made a similar stab last year, trading a third-round pick to the Jets for Elijah Moore. Moore did not make much of an impact.

I remember when the Broncos drafted Jeudy with the 15th pick of the 2020 draft. John Elway at that time was giddy that Jeudy was available – Elway said they never considered in their mock drafts the possibility that the Raiders would select Henry Ruggs with the 12th pick. Ruggs, of course, was a disaster, but five other wide receivers who went shortly after Jeudy have been better. Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb both have over 2,000 more yards, while Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman also have been far more productive.

I like the price tag here (the Browns didn’t give up much) but I don’t think it’s particularly likely Jeudy will be blossoming into the kind of receiver many were expecting back in 2020.

WIDE RECEIVERS DRAFTED IN 2020
PlayerPkGRunNoRecTDPPR
Justin Jefferson2260283925899311180.2
CeeDee Lamb17663183955145361161.3
Brandon Aiyuk2562117269393127837.8
Michael Pittman3462100336366215808.2
Tee Higgins335828257368424776.2
Jerry Jeudy155743211305311588.6
Darnell Mooney1736059213259312552.2
Chase Claypool4958171175226115512.3
K.J. Osborn1765016158184515434.1
Laviska Shenault425125215815517380.3
Donovan Peoples-Jones18758212218959367.7
Van Jefferson576123113160010335.3
Quez Watkins2004949812496261.3
Devin Duvernay9259219948989259.7
Jalen Reagor2156100799376220.7
Jauan Jennings217450789637216.3
Henry Ruggs122065509214172.6
Isaiah Hodgins207270586227164.2
Bryan Edwards81350487794149.9
Freddie Swain2143732425766138.8
KJ Hamler462363426203128.3
Tyler Johnson161340505373121.7
Quintez Cephus166220375684119.8
Denzel Mims59300426760111.6
Collin Johnson16529030388282.8
James Proche20153025278052.8
John Hightower16814110167028.8
K.J. Hill22021010103020.3
Tyrie Cleveland252230891017.1
Dezmon Patmon21290445114.5
Joe Reed15111290018.9
Antonio Gandy-Golden14210221303.5
Isaiah Coulter17130000.0

—Ian Allan

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