For teams that need offensive line help, the Cleveland Browns could be a one stop shop to address their issues with either a veteran or an up and coming player.
According to reports from Michael Lombardi of the GM Shuffle Pod and Art Stapleton of Record Sports, the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants could be in search of offensive line help. The Dolphins reportedly would be looking for a tackle while the Giants could use interior help.
The veracity of the reports and whether it's these teams are irrelevant. There will be teams that need capable offensive line help and the Browns could be a great option.
In no small part due to the pandemic's impact on the 2020 season plus some good scouting, the Browns find themselves with almost a dozen NFL caliber offensive lineman. They cannot keep them all on the 53-man roster, so as much as they might hope they can get someone to the practice squad, potential trades that net the Browns future assets could make a ton of sense.
Between finding Alex Taylor as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and then drafting James Hudson this year, the Browns might be inclined to move Chris Hubbard. The team adores Hubbard and might be inclined to release him out of respect for him rather than trade him if they don't keep him on their roster, he does have value in a trade.
Hubbard was incredibly valuable in 2020 when players like Drew Forbes and Colby Gossett opted out for the season due to COVID-19 concerns. Hubbard is a reasonably solid tackle, but he had to come in and play guard when the team was without Wyatt Teller due to injury. He was nowhere as effective as Teller was but he enabled the team not to sustain their success on the line in his stead.
Unfortunately, he suffered a dislocated kneecap on the Giants awful field that ended his season. Healthy, he could be a nice option for a team that wants a veteran that can come in and stabilize a situation.
The Browns would eat $1.3 million in dead cap if they trade or release Hubbard, but they would $3,661,765 on the salary cap, which they could then rollover for additional space in 2022. So long as the Browns feel good about Taylor and Hudson, they can save money and be much younger on their roster while potentially acquiring a future draft asset.
They also have Greg Senat as a cheaper option.
For teams interested in guard help, the Browns have a ton of them. After Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller, the Browns have Drew Forbes, Michael Dunn, Blake Hance, Colby Gossett. If the Browns keep ten offensive linemen, they could keep two. That's hardly a guarantee.
Depending on which of these the Browns like best, they could swap with a team that wants young, cost effective help with guys the team deems expendable.
For the time being, teams searching for offensive line help might be more inclined to keep shuffling through free agents, but as the calendar gets closer to September, these teams may feel more heat to get a better solution. Hubbard is certainly the most proven of these options, but to necessity, players like Dunn and Hance were able to showcase themselves in the playoffs, which could draw interest from other teams.
In the case of these interior options, it might be a conditional draft pick based on the player making the roster or playing time, but it could provide an additional avenue for the Browns to maintain their operating strength in the future. Whether they use the picks or bundle them as part of trades, it just gives the Browns added flexibility, which is something the team always wants.