Age Is Just A Number; Browns Powered By Veteran Leadership

The Browns have one of the oldest rosters in the NFL at the moment. Are they in their Super Bowl window?
Nov 5, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Shelby Harris (93) celebrates after a strip sack of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Clayton Tune (not pictured) during the second half at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Shelby Harris (93) celebrates after a strip sack of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Clayton Tune (not pictured) during the second half at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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It is well known by now that the Cleveland Browns have an excellent roster at the moment and will enter the 2024 season with a sincere opportunity to win the AFC North and once again make the playoffs. If the Browns' defense of 2023 makes a consistent appearance in 2024, then Cleveland truly has a Super Bowl winning caliber defense. Where they will need more attention is with offensive consistency.

With Deshaun Watson at the helm, a strong offensive line in front of him, plenty of weapons to utilize and a new scheme with Ken Dorsey that should compliment Watson's game, the opportunity is there to create a high-powered offense.

If all the pieces come together, then this Browns team could make a run towards a Super Bowl appearance in February of 2025.

When it comes to teams being constructed to win a Super Bowl, every franchise hits a period of time that could be considered their "Super Bowl window". This period of time is when the team has a genuine shot to make it to the big game and win a championship. For some teams, that window only lasts a year or two. For others, the championship window is open for a longer period of time. The Kansas City Chiefs are still in their championship window, which feels like it has been open since about 2016 when Andy Reid and Alex Smith led the team to a 12-4 record and won the AFC West. Since that time, the Chiefs have won their division every single year, appeared in four Super Bowls and have won three.

It would be great if the Browns reach the peak of the NFL and dominate for nearly a decade. Despite the Chiefs being a lofty example, the Browns are realistically in their championship window right now. As referenced earlier, this team is well-constructed. One of the biggest positive factors for Cleveland is the presence of veteran leadership.

Bill Huber of Packer Central on SI, published a story on Monday that discussed the ages of each team's roster. The reason for this story was to determine just how young the Packers team is compared to the rest of the NFL. In order to determine the age of each roster, each team's amount of players 30 years or older were taken into account. The only positions excluded were the specialists because many teams have 30-plus-year-old kickers, punters and long snappers.

What was found is that Green Bay is in fact the youngest roster in the NFL with only one player older than 30. For our purposes though, the data on the Cleveland Browns compared to the rest of the NFL was quite fascinating.

The Browns currently roster 12 players over the age of 30 with Rodney McLeod Jr. being the oldest at 33.

Aug 26, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cleveland Browns safety Rodney McLeod (26) returns an interception against Kansas City Chiefs tight end Matt Bushman (49) during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 26, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cleveland Browns safety Rodney McLeod (26) returns an interception against Kansas City Chiefs tight end Matt Bushman (49) during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

That number of 12 players ties the Houston Texans for second in the NFL, only behind the San Francisco 49ers who have an astonishing 18 players over the age of 30. As for the rest of the AFC North, both the Steelers and Ravens sit in the top ten of oldest rosters. The Steelers have 11 players over 30 and the Ravens have 10. The Bengals sit at the total opposite end of the rankings with the second least players over 30 at just four.

The Cleveland Browns' roster is certainly aging, yet this team will still be flying around the field and proving that age is just a number. With a group full of veterans, the younger players have plenty of teammates to turn to for advice and mentorship. The current roster construction could not only be a good thing for the 2024 Browns, but also for the Browns teams in the near future.

Although there should be a confidence with this team, the age statistics likely confirm my previous belief that we will see some roster turnover in 2025. Many of the veterans will remain with the team, but the 2025 roster will likely be younger than this year's group.

For now, it is full steam ahead to OTAs, minicamp, training camp and then the start of the upcoming season in pursuit of the ultimate prize - a Super Bowl.


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Cole McDaniel

COLE MCDANIEL

Cole McDaniel is a contributor to both Browns Digest and Cavs Insider. He is the Vice President of Operations for Kee on Sports, most notably serving as lead NFL Draft analyst and the play-by-play voice for high school football. He can also be heard on numerous Baldwin Wallace University athletics broadcasts and has served as Cleveland SC's color commentator since 2019. Cole is a 2019 graduate of Baldwin Wallace where he also played soccer.