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Jarvis Landry's Legacy with Cleveland Browns Doesn't Need Embellishment; It Stands on Its Own

The news of Jarvis Landry signing with the New Orleans Saints, that officially closes the book on his career with the Cleveland Browns. A look back at his four years with the Browns.

Jarvis Landry's career has been built on getting every ounce of ability out of his body combined with an unmatched passion and toughness. Add in accessibility and kindness with young fans and it gave him an every man appeal that endeared him to fans of all ages during his four seasons with the Cleveland Browns. 

Landry was a good player with one great season whose contributions weren't limited to the field, but there was always a hyperbolic aspect of the fanbase desperate for a hero that tried to elevate him into being more than was possible because of his blue collar approach, a top contract and a fateful clip from HBO's Hard Knocks, which helped produce a fundamental misunderstanding of how the culture of a football team works.

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2019 was a great season for Landry. It was his only great season with the Browns. 2018 and 2020 were average and this past season was just plain miserable. Part of the reason Landry was heralded is because the Browns have had such a bizarre history with that position over the last 15 years. 

While so many teams routinely find great receivers, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals just within the division, the Browns have struggled to find pass catching playmakers. Going from Braylon Edwards to a run of receivers including Dwayne Bowe, Kenny Britt, Corey Coleman, Josh Gordon's All-Pro 2013 season and a random 1,000 yard season from Terrelle Pryor in 2016. Given that journey, Landry's stability was a breath of fresh air even if it wasn't the end goal.

In reality, Tyler Boyd is a properly rated Jarvis Landry. Boyd is a good player and should've gone to the Pro Bowl in 2018. He's not a star nor is he expected to be. The Bengals can function without him and he's not being paid over $15 million per season (5 years, $44.3 million). He's simply an asset to their team and helped them reach the Super Bowl last season without much fanfare.

Even just compared to Browns history, Landry's production is in line with that of the aforementioned Braylon Edwards, who might have been a great talent but was never viewed as a great player outside of a spectacular 2007 season. Edwards will always be considered as a disappointment because he was the third overall pick of the 2005 draft. He's the polar opposite of Landry because he was viewed as someone squandering his immense gifts as opposed to maximizing the few they had as was the case with Landry. Landry was also more likable, more relatable than the haughty Edwards, but the numbers speak volumes.

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NameYearReceptionsTargetsYardsTDsYards per Target

Jarvis Landry

2018

81

149

976

5

6.6

Jarvis Landry

2019

83

138

1,174

6

8.5

Jarvis Landry

2020

72

101

840

4

8.4

Tyler Boyd

2018

76

108

1,028

7

9.5

Tyler Boyd

2019

90

148

1,046

5

7.1

Tyler Boyd

2020

79

110

841

4

7.6

Braylon Edwards

2006

61

125

884

6

7.1

Braylon Edwards

2007

80

154

1,289

16

8.4

Braylon Edwards

2008

55

138

873

3

6.3

The overall totals paint a similar picture.

NameYearsReceptionsYardsTouchdowns

Jarvis Landry

2018-2020

276

2,990

15

Tyler Boyd

2018-2020

245

2,915

16

Braylon Edwards

2006-2008

196

3,046

25

The wildcard game against the Pittsburgh Steelers allowed Landry a well deserved moment he nor Browns fans will soon forget. A 40-yard catch and run for a touchdown opened gave the Browns a two-score lead, providing an indelible memory that could represent his tenure with the Browns. Just as it was the first postseason victory for the Browns since 1994, it was also the first of Landry's career.

Landry was a valuable member of the locker room, but he wasn't the start of a culture change. Even if fans and some media may have watched his Hard Knocks clip hundreds of times on a loop, players likely didn't, including those in the meeting room when he gave the speech. And not a single person who was in the room to hear that speech is still with the team. It always meant more outside the the building than in it.

With the Browns, that included hip surgery, broken ribs and a pair of knee injuries, the last of which contributed to the worst year of his career in 2021. After his release, teams simply weren't sure what Landry could offer, which resulted in signing a one-year deal with the Saints with a base salary of $3 million that could be worth up to $6 million. He's hoping to have a strong year and earn better offers next offseason.

None of that changes the fact that Jarvis Landry was a good wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns or reduces his achievements. He was a true professional who offered leadership, was a willing mentor who tried to leave the team and community better than he found it, had one great season and was paid handsomely for his efforts, earning around $60 million in the process. That's a great legacy that doesn't require hyperbole.