It's no secret that the Redskins could use an upgrade at right tackle. There are not many options in free agency this season, so the team may have to turn their attention towards April's NFL Draft if they hope to find a bookend to pair with Pro Bowler Trent Williams. The draft can be a crap shoot, and although there are a lot of young, athletic high ceiling players who could be chosen within our top two selections, you can never be sure if you're going to get Joe Thomas or Robert Gallery.
It's also no secret that the Cleveland Browns need offensive help. Their best receiver just got suspended indefinitely, and their quarterback of the future is currently in rehab. They also lost a good receiving tight end in free agency this week when Jordan Cameron signed with the Dolphins.
This season, Cleveland will be spending $18.2 million dollars on two linemen. Left tackle Joe Thomas(30) is the team's second highest paid player with a 2015 cap hit of $10.2 million. Center Alex Mack(29) ranks as the team's fourth highest paid player with a 2015 cap hit of $8 million. Both Thomas and Mack are under contract until 2018, and both are playing at a very high level. It's hard to imagine either being cut until their play goes significantly downhill.
Cleveland's right tackle, Mitchell Schwartz(25), will be a unrestricted free agent in 2016. He currently counts $1.6 million against the cap, but will command significant money on the open market next season as a free agent. I imagine a contract similar to the one the Packers just gave Bulaga(5 years, $33.75 million)would be in the ballpark for Schwartz. Cleveland also has guard John Greco and youngster Joel Bitonio under contract.
It it would be hard to imagine Cleveland wanting to pay Schwartz nearly $7 million per season to play right tackle, when they already have nearly $18 million wrapped up in two players for 2016. Another idea is that the much cheaper Bitonio could be Schwartz's replacement at right tackle next season, and the Browns could simple go out and find a guard to plug into his spot next to Thomas.
Schwartz is certainly a natural at right tackle, and isn't really a candidate to kick over to the left side if Thomas were to retire or be released. The best hope for Cleveland is to move Schwartz this offseason, and get something in return for a player they may simply not be able to afford at his position come this time next season.
Here is where the Redskins come in.
Washington has two players who could be of interest to Cleveland in a trade. One is wide receiver Pierre Garcon, and the other is quarterback Kirk Cousins.
The Browns recently signed Brian Hartline, but he's far from a number one wide receiver. He's best in the slot, and although he could help, he's far from fixing the vacancy left by Josh Gordon.
At quarterback, Cleveland recently signed veteran Josh McCown. The journeyman will replace the departed Brain Hoyer, but he's nothing more than a short-term placeholder.
Trade Scenario 1:
Washington sends Pierre Garcon to Cleveland for Mitchell Schwartz - Cleveland would absorb their part of Garcon's contract in 2015($7.5 million with a $4.4 million dead cap hit for the Redskins), but they could look to re-structure and/or extend the 28 year old beyond 2016 at a much more cap-friendly price. If they cut him after just one season, they save $8 million and won't carry any dead cap money.
Garcon would give whichever quarterback Cleveland decides to start, a legit go-to target, who is dangerous after the catch - something the Browns lost when Gordon was suspended.
Trade Scenario 2:
Washington sends Kirk Cousins and a fourth round pick to Cleveland for Mitchell Schwartz - Here the Browns get a young quarterback who can step in and give them a chance to win immediately. If Cousins does well, they can extend him next offseason. If he plays poorly, they still have a fourth round pick they received from the Redskins.
If if this were to happen, the Redskins would be set at offensive tackle for the foreseeable future. It would give us the option to pick up a pass rusher and possible a big receiver(which the team has been lacking). This could open up the door for WR Amari Cooper at 5 and OLB Eli Harold in the 2nd.