The Cleveland Browns could shoot for the stars with a trade for a wide receiver this offseason or could land on a more realistic option, like New York Jets young gun Elijah Moore.
Moore was a second-round pick of the Jets in 2021 but his sophomore season in the NFL didn’t reach the heights that were expected. Moore caught 43 passes for 538 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie but saw all those number drops last season. He managed just 37 grabs for 446 yards and one touchdown last season.
Moore voiced his displeasure about his role in the offense and even demanded a trade in October, which the Jets did not grant. Prior to his request, Moore had a blowup with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur during practice, per The Atheltic, telling him to “go f— yourself” and “you suck.”
“At the end of the day, this is [about] a legacy,” Moore said in late October while discussing his trade request. “I love football a lot, and I know a lot of people do. There [are] a lot of things behind the scenes I’d rather keep inside that happened toward my reaction for that. It is what it is.”
Moore Would Give Browns Upside & Youth
While Moore hasn’t done himself any favors lately, he’d still be a solid fit for the Browns, who could use a speedy option to complement Amari Cooper.
“If the Browns decide to seriously explore trades, they might want to go a little younger and possibly aim for a player like the Jets’ 2021 second-round pick Elijah Moore,” Cabot wrote in her latest Q&A column. “Turning 23 in March, he is a smaller, faster receiver who can stretch a defense and might be just what Watson needs.”
The focus on Moore was generated from a question about the Browns trading for either Texans receiver Brandin Cooks or Cardinals pass-catcher DeAndre Hopkins — both former teammates of Watson. However, both come with significant costs, with Cooks at $18 million and Hopkins at $19.45 million.
After a pair of 1,000-yard seasons, Cooks notched 699 yards on 57 catches last season, playing in 13 games with the lowly Texans. He’s made it clear he wants out and has likely played his last game in Houston.
Hopkins has some All-Pro selections on his resume but played in just nine games this season with the Cardinals. He collected 717 yards on 64 grabs with three touchdowns.
Watson Eager for Offense to Take Next Step
Watson had to shake off some rust when he finally got under center for the Browns. The team went 3-3 in his six stars and Watson completed 58.2% of his passes for 1,102 yards and seven touchdowns. He tossed five interceptions.
Watson knows he has to be better but believes having a full offseason and no suspension looming will help his progress.
“We are going to have a man-to-man conversation,” Watson said, referencing head coach and offensive play-caller Kevin Stefanski. “Nothing negative or anything like that, but just what can we do to be better offensively and as a team. My next step in taking this team and taking that leadership role is really stepping out there and really taking this whole locker room under my wings. I am looking forward to that.”