Browns exploring Khalil Mack trade, Hue Jackson: adding big name player “not out of the question”

Changes to the offensive line also could be coming heading into Week 1

Daryl Ruiter
August 31, 2018 - 3:37 pm
Browns general manager John Dorsey and head coach Hue Jackson speak during a training camp practice.

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

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Cleveland (92.3 The Fan) – This weekend is about to be very busy for the Browns and general manager John Dorsey.

Along with the rest of the NFL, the Browns must trim their roster to 53 by 4 p.m. eastern Saturday.

A bunch of difficult decisions need to me made and opportunities to upgrade the roster may present themselves, starting with Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack, who is on the trade block as he continues to be at an impasse on a contract extension with Oakland.

The Browns have explored the possibility of acquiring Mack, a 3-time Pro Bowler and 2-time first-team all pro, multipe sources have told 92.3 The Fan in recent days, but the asking price in such a proposed trade remains unclear. 

Oakland reportedly is seeking 2 future first-round draft picks for Mack, but a first- and third-round pick plus a player has also been explored sources said. 

So how about it, Hue Jackson? Do the Browns have a big splash up their sleeve this weekend?

“I don’t [know.] It would be hard for us to do, but nothing is out of the question,” Jackson said. “Nothing is off the table. We will definitely look at everything. If we think it fits our organization and football team, we will certainly do it. We have to look at everything. This is the time of year where you get an opportunity to make your football team better. I think we are going to look at any and everything that would help us do that.”

During the telecast on WEWS TV-5 Thursday night of the preseason finale at Detroit, Dorsey declined to discuss the possibility of adding Mack through a trade.

"Well, I’m not allowed to talk about another team’s player. Last I saw he’s with the Oakland Raiders,” Dorsey said.

Here’s what else we learned from Jackson Friday.

1. The offensive line is not nearly as set as we thought it was and undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison could start at left tackle, pushing Joel Bitonio back to left guard.

“I think all of those avenues are open,” Jackson said. “I think what I am doing is as I said before, I want to look at everything and make sure the best five guys out there based on all of the information from preseason games, practices and what I think is best for our football team. I am just evaluating it all.

“I know we have seen Joel at left tackle and he has played it, and Corbett at left guard and Harrison at left tackle. When it is all said and done, my job is that we put the best five guys out there, and that is what we are going to do.”

Jackson clearly is not sold on the Corbett-Bitonio combo on the left side of the line.

“I think that he has done some good things,” Jackson said of Corbett, selected 33rd overall. “I have always said from Day 1 that we are going to play the best five guys. “How that unfolds as we go through preseason and as we go through everything, we will make a decision about what we think is best. I just think that we are still working through it and determining what is best for us. That is all we are doing.”

The only thing clear is that Jackson and the Browns are not in an ideal situation having the offensive line in flux heading into Week 1 despite Jackson downplaying the problem.

“I feel good about where we are, where we are headed and the players who we have playing there,” Jackson said. “I just want to make sure that we are not turning in the lineup cards today or to say who is starting or anything like that. I just want to make sure that it is a decision, when it is all said and done, that I am good with it all and that I am not going to change two days from now or three days from now.”

2. As suspected tight end Seth DeValve and fullback Danny Vitale are both in danger of not making the team after being sidelined by injuries during training camp and the preseason.

“Those are tough decisions because we have to do what we think is best short term and long term for the organization,” Jackson said. “Those guys have been players who have played football here and contribute, but obviously, they have not been out there on the field with the team and been able to practice. I think that availability is really important, especially as we start heading into the season.”

3. Josh Gordon will return to practice on Monday.

“I think it will be a little bit more than limited but not totally, totally full go,” Jackson said. “He will definitely get into the route running part of it, catching balls and being with the offense a lot more than what he has been.”

4. Safety Damarious Randall will also return to practice on Monday.

5. Jackson provided no clarity on impending roster decisions, including for Hard Knocks fan favorite Devon Cajuste, however he did admit that the preseason finale will impact some of those decisions.

“There were definitely some players that earned roster spots with their play last night,” Jackson said. “Over the next two days, we will finalize the roster. There will be a lot of moving parts as all of this plays out over the next few days, but I think that everyone within our organization is excited about the work that we have ahead and the opportunities that are in front of us.”