Browns notebook: GM Andrew Berry offers what sounds like a goodbye to receiver Jarvis Landry

Marla Ridenour
Akron Beacon Journal
Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) fist bumps offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt as he comes off the field during the second half of the Browns' 21-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the season finale on Sunday. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

What sounded like a goodbye to Jarvis Landry from Browns General Manager Andrew Berry Tuesday made it seem likely that the five-time Pro Bowl receiver will be a salary-cap casualty in the offseason.

Landry is signed through 2022, slated to earn $15.05 million in salary and bonuses with a cap hit of $16.55 million, according to But his dead cap hit would be $1.5 million if he's released.

Starting 12 games for the Browns (8-9), Landry led the team in receiving with 52 catches for 570 yards (11.0 average) and two touchdowns and rushed six times for 40 yards and two touchdowns.

His receiving touchdowns were the lowest of his career, and the passing attack led by injured quarterback Baker Mayfield ranked 27th in the league with 195.3 yards per game.

Landry, 29, battled issues with his left knee in 2021. He sprained the medial collateral ligament in Week 2 and spent four games on injured reserve, the first he's missed due to injury in his life. He sat out a 16-14 home loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Dec. 20, when 22 players and three coaches were out with COVID-19.

Acquired in a trade from the Miami Dolphins in March 2018, Landry was a driving force in changing the Browns’ culture, starting with his training camp speech in the receivers room that aired on the HBO series “Hard Knocks.”

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“I think everybody on this call knows how much respect that we have for Jarvis Landry and really what he’s meant for our team and organization over the past several years,” Berry said. “He’s been a productive player for us since the day that we traded for him and he’s been really a key piece in how the team and organization have evolved over the last several years.”

Berry said nothing about keeping Landry or exploring a restructured contract, essentially a pay cut. Landry has not spoken to the media since Nov. 16, and that was at his foundation's turkey drive, not in a team availability. That day, Landry said he was hurt over his friend and former Louisiana State teammate Odell Beckham Jr. forcing his way out of Cleveland in early November and signing with the Los Angeles Rams.

It seems possible that Berry will look for dynamic receivers to upgrade the position in the April 28-30 draft when they pick 13th in the first round. Ohio State's Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave are among those who could be available at that spot. That's one of the areas Berry said the Browns will be studying in the next two weeks.

"I told you guys at the bye week that I thought our passing offense was too inconsistent and I think that remains to be the case as we exit the year," Berry said. "We will pull it apart, look at it and obviously make the necessary changes and improvements that are needed, whether that is externally, internally, or schematically.”

Landry’s future is among several tough decisions Berry faces, headed by the uncertainty surrounding quarterback Baker Mayfield, scheduled to undergo left shoulder surgery on Jan. 19. Among the others is whether to resign defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who played on a one-year contract worth up to $10 million in incentives.

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Although he missed two December games with COVID-19, Clowney finished strong, accumulating 5.5 of his nine sacks in his final three games, four in the last two weeks. Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett is lobbying for Clowney to stay, but Clowney is sure to command a raise when free agency opens at 4 p.m. on March 16.

“JD had a really good season for us. Was very productive run and pass, disruptive player, I think he paired nicely with the guys we had up front, obviously with Myles being at the forefront,” Berry said. “He did the things that we envisioned when we signed him. Good season, fit in nicely for us and the next several weeks we’ll see kind of what the future holds with all our guys across the roster.”

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Cornerback Denzel Ward, the fourth overall pick in 2021, will play on his fifth-year option next season, but made a strong case for an extension. The Nordonia High School and Ohio State product was voted to his second Pro Bowl, tied his career-high with three interceptions, including a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown at Cincinnati, and tied cornerback Greedy Williams for the team lead in passes defensed with 10.

“I think Denzel put together a fine year,” Berry said of Ward, who played in 15 games, surpassing his career-high of 13 as a rookie. “He made a number of really big plays for us at critical moments in the season. Obviously, we know he’s a local kid, drafted and developed here. He put together a really strong season for us, so we’re pleased with that.”

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is highly likely to retain play-calling duties in 2022, even though he came under fire for distaining the run after Mayfield suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder in Week 2. Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt sounded comfortable with his role in the collaboration when he spoke before the season finale.

“We really do have to go through everything because we didn’t meet our level of expectations this year,” Berry said. “That all being said, feel good about Kevin as a play-caller. I feel like that is one of his strengths. There are a lot of things that we’ll need to improve over the next several months and it really all has to work together.

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“I don’t think it’s any one thing or any silver bullet. That’s why we’re going to tear it apart and plot the best path to go, whether it’s personnel-wise, schematically-wise or operationally with an eye towards improvement in 2022.”

Cleveland Browns John Johnson III celebrates his interception against the Denver Broncos on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021 in Cleveland, at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns won the game 17-14. [Phil Masturzo/ Beacon Journal]

GM says roster turnover, frustration is the root of Browns’ comments on lack of team chemistry

Safety John Johnson III and rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah were the most vocal on Monday in pointing out a divide between the Browns offense and defense, saying their team chemistry and brotherhood need to be strengthened.

Berry said the fact that the Browns had eight new starters on defense contributed to those comments, as well as a disappointing season that fell well short of Super Bowl expectations.

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“Regardless of if you make it to the Super Bowl or you are the 32nd team in football, every team has a fair amount of significant roster turnover,” Berry said. “I think it is on average maybe one-third per year. What comes with that is constantly reinforcing the team culture because you really do have to work at it from the beginning of every year because there are a number of guys who will not have been with you the previous season.

“What you can see when you are not having results is frustration. Everybody puts a ton of time, energy and effort into this thing, and it is frustrating for everybody if you do not reach your goals. I think shared success, performance and work ethic, that is really the goal to improve that and make sure we hit that mark. Shared success oftentimes leads to the chemistry and working relationships. That is really the focus first and foremost as we go into the next few weeks.”

COVID-19 protocols prevented Browns from bringing in yoga instructor

Johnson also expressed concern about the Browns’ soft tissue injuries and suggested they need a yoga instructor at their CrossCountry Mortgage campus. Berry discussed that with Johnson on Monday, but Berry said two years of COVID-19 protocols have prevented bringing in outside practitioners.

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“Some of the services that we would bring in out of the building, we have not been able to … but it is something that is certainly top of mind for us,” Berry said. “Every year, we do go through an injury and particularly a soft-tissue injury audit, and I think our medical and performance groups are pretty good at staying on the cutting edge of those things. Teams that can stay healthy, that is a huge competitive advantage and it is something we want to make sure we are doing everything in our power to do.”

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Berry excited for two Browns front office members to interview for the Chicago Bears GM position

On Monday, the Browns granted permission for Vice President of Football Operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Vice President of Player Personnel Glenn Cook to interview with the Chicago Bears for their general manager position.

On Wednesday, Adofo-Mensah and Cook received GM interview requests from the Minnesota Vikings, a person familiar with the situation confirmed.

“I am incredibly excited and proud of both Kwesi and Glenn for having the opportunity to interview for one of the 31 other franchises,” Berry said. “Of course, we will always grant requests.

“I know those guys will represent themselves well. Any owner who is looking to hire a general manager, those guys will do a phenomenal job. I am just glad they are interviewing for an NFC team so that I can root for them if they get it.”

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Cleveland Browns kicker Chase McLaughlin (3) shakes hands with place holder Jamie Gillan (7) after making a field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry doesn’t rule out drafting a kicker

The Browns had many inconsistencies on special teams. On Dec. 22, they waived punter Jamie Gillan and replaced him with Dustin Colquitt, 39, initially signed on Dec. 10 as a COVID-19 replacement.

But their bigger problem was at kicker, where journeyman Chase McLaughlin went 15 of 21 on field-goal attempts with his misses starting on Oct. 21. McLaughlin made 4-of-4 from 50-plus yards, but went 4-of-10 from 40-49 yards.

Asked if he would consider drafting a kicker, Berry said, “I would consider anything. My reaction to that is not any hard and fast rule. It probably depends on the player, and it depends on other ways you can acquire talent at the position. No, I would not rule it out.”

Browns assistant defensive line coach Jeremy Garrett headed to Liberty University

Jeremy Garrett, who spent the past two seasons as assistant defensive line coach under Chris Kiffin, is headed to Liberty University as defensive line coach.

After playing at the University of Mississippi, Garrett worked in the high school ranks as a coach and administrator from 2010-18, then was hired by Vanderbilt University in 2019 as a defensive quality control coach.

Kicker Chris Blewitt among three signed to reserve/futures contracts

First-year kicker Chris Blewitt, linebacker Willie Harvey Jr., and offensive tackle Elijah Nkansah were signed to reserve/futures contracts.

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