The Cleveland Browns have long been a laughing stock in the NFL. Since their rebirth in 1999 they have had just 2 winning seasons and just one appearance in the playoffs. They have churned their way through 8 head coaches and are now on their 9th.
In 2015 the Browns seemed to bottom out, with a 3-13 record that saw the end of Mike Pettine's reign, but that was just the start. Over the next two years the Browns won just one game, but from the ashes of that period is rising a phoenix. Years of early picks in the draft is bearing fruit for the roster, and aggressive investments from the front office has created a team that has a lot of buzz going into the 2019 season.
In Madden 20 that hype continues. Their young and athletic roster make them a firm favorite in online games, while their lack of success in recent times make them a nice project to take over in franchise mode.
It has been over 9,000 days since the Browns last playoff win and over 50 years since their last championship title. Can you bring a Super Bowl banner back to Cleveland?
The Browns rating is not amazing. At 78 OVR they sit 9th, but are tied with four other teams. This OVR is actually lower than their Madden 19 rating on 80 OVR too.
The offense gets a nice 83 rating, good for joint 7th and puts them on a par with the likes of Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and even Kansas City.
Defensively the Browns get an 81 rating which is tied with the Chargers, Cowboys, Jaguars, Jets, Panthers, and Titans for 4th. What keeps the Browns ratings so low is a lack of depth behind their young stars, which makes them a good pick for a one-off game either online or against your buddies.
Odell Beckham Jr, Wide Receiver (96 OVR)
Development Trait: Superstar X-Factor
Contract: 5 years/$77.1 million
2019 Cap Hit: $17 million
Best Stats: Spectacular Catch (99), Agility (98), Jumping (96), Catching (96), Medium Route (96), Short Route (96), Deep Route (94), Acceleration (94), Speed (94)
Odell Beckham Jr was the 12th overall pick for the New York Giants in 2014. As a rookie he made an immediate impact, posting 1,305 yards in just 12 games and getting an invitation to the Pro Bowl too. In 2015 and 2016 Beckham was a dominant force before injuries cut his 2017 season short. In 2018 he amassed just 1,052 yards and was traded to Cleveland ahead of the 2019 season.
Beckham is a monster in Madden 20. With perfect spectacular catch (99) and elite catching (96), route running (short 96, medium 96, deep 94), and athleticism (speed 94, acceleration 94) there is little he can't do and few corners he can't beat one-on-one. With his superstar abilities of Juke Box and Grab-N-Go and his X-Factor of RAC 'Em Up he his deadly in every situation and on any route.
Myles Garrett, Defensive End (91 OVR)
Development Trait: Superstar X-Factor
Contract: 2 years/$17.96 million
2019 Cap Hit: $8.29 million
Best Stats: Strength (96), Power Moves (93), Awareness (92), Play Recognition (90), Acceleration (90), Block Shedding (88), Finesse Moves (86)
Myles Garrett was the first overall pick for the Cleveland Browns in 2017. As a rookie he picked up 7 sacks in 11 games but flashed plenty of ability. In 2018 Garrett was a star, picking up 13.5 sacks along with 29 QB hits, 12 tackles for loss, and an invite to his first Pro Bowl.
In Madden 20 Garrett is a terrific pass rusher. He has elite strength (96) and acceleration (90) to go along with amazing power moves (93) and solid finesse moves (86). His awareness (92) and play recognition (90) means he won't get fooled by play action or counters either. His superstar abilities of Reach Elite and Edge Threat will make him deadly against pass-heavy offenses while his Unstoppable Force X-Factor means he will take over a game if he gets in the zone.
Denzel Ward, Cornerback (88 OVR)
Development Trait: Superstar
Contract: 3 years/$23.86 million
2019 Cap Hit: $6.63 million
Best Stats: Speed (95), Acceleration (95), Agility (95), Jumping (92), Man Coverage (90), Press (89), Zone Coverage (84)
Denzel Ward was the 4th overall pick for the Cleveland Browns in 2018 after a stellar college career at Ohio State. As a rookie Ward started 12 games, picking off 3 passes and forcing a fumble while also racking up 53 tackles. His play earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Ward is a supreme corner in Madden 20. His speed (95), acceleration (95), and agility (95) are elite, while his man coverage (90) is superb, Ward can play zone (84) too. His awareness (83) and play recognition (81) are not great, and his tackling (50) is poor, but when the ball is in the air there are few better.
Baker Mayfield, Quarterback (83 OVR)
Development Trait: Superstar
Contract: 3 years/$26.74 million
2019 Cap Hit: $7.43 million
Best Stats: Throw Power (93), Throw On Run (89), Throw Under Pressure (89), Short Accuracy (89), Deep Accuracy (88), Play Action (88), Break Sack (85)
Baker Mayfield was the first overall pick in 2018 for the Browns. He started 13 games and threw for 3,725 yards with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His play inspired a lot of fans who had lost hope and turned the Browns into an exciting offense.
In Madden 20 Mayfield has a superb foundation to grow from. With good throw power (93), accuracy (short 89, medium 83, deep 88), and acceleration (86) to run away from trouble he can be the perfect quarterback to build with. With good throw on run (89), throw under pressure (89), and play action (88) he can fit every offensive scheme.
Full Roster & Depth Chart
|Odell Beckham Jr||96||84||96||96||96||94|
|Donnie Lewis Jr||61||87||64||62||68|
The Cleveland Browns roster is full of young potential at key positions. Baker Mayfield (93 throw power, 89 short accuracy) is a star in the making under center, and he has Odell Beckham (99 spectacular catch, 96 jumping), Jarvis Landry (92 juke move, 91 spectacular catch), and David Njoku (90 acceleration, 84 spectacular catch) to throw to. Kareem Hunt (94 break tackle, 93 juke move) and Nick Chubb (90 break tackle, 89 trucking) are a superb young duo to run the ball, and both are effective receivers too. The offensive line isn't great, but left guard Joel Bitonio (91 pass block, 90 pass block power) and center JC Tretter (89 strength, 84 pass block finesse) are a nice partnership to run behind.
Defensively Cleveland have the twin pillars of Myles Garrett (96 strength, 93 power move) and Denzel Ward (95 speed, 90 man coverage) to lean on, and both will be there for many years to come. Olivier Vernon (85 power moves, 84 tackle) provides a good foil to Garrett on the other side of the line. Sheldon Richardson (88 strength, 88 power moves) and Larry Ogunjobi (88 strength, 83 power moves) are a solid partnership at defensive tackle, protecting a linebacker corps headlined by Joe Schobert (90 play recognition, 86 pursuit), Genard Avery (89 acceleration, 80 finesse moves), and Christian Kirksey (84 pursuit, 83 tackling). Ward leads a decent set of cornerbacks including Terrance Mitchell (94 agility, 83 press), TJ Carrie (89 acceleration, 81 press), and rookie greedy Williams (93 speed, 76 man coverage). Damarious Randall (91 acceleration, 87 zone coverage) is a good free safety, while Morgan Burnett (88 acceleration, 85 hit power) is the only viable option next to him.
The special teams positions are in flux, with second-year kicker Greg Joseph (93 power, 74 accuracy) competing with rookie Austin Seibert (92 power, 70 accuracy). At punter veteran Britton Colquitt (90 power, 84 accuracy) competes with rookie Jamie Gillan (93 power, 73 accuracy) during the pre-season.
The Browns start franchise mode with 74 players on their roster and just $9.44 million in cap space. Cutting down to the 53-man roster should take that up to $15 million, but that isn't much to go out and trade for immediate help with. It also isn't much flexibility when it comes to re-signing free agents, so you may have to get selective with who you retain.
Remember, the likes of Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and Baker Mayfield may not need contract extensions immediately, but they will have big price tags when it is negotiation time so don't go spending all of your cap space every year.
Impending Free Agents
When you start your franchise mode with the Cleveland Browns in the preseason you'll have 25 players entering the final year of their contract. Most of these are replaceable guys on the bottom of the roster that are unlikely to even make your 53-man roster in season 1.
However, there are some key players that you will need to have a plan for. Let's take a look at who they are.
Kareem Hunt, Half Back (90 OVR)
The Browns are in a strong position with their offensive skill position players. The receivers are good, the quarterback is young, and Hunt and Nick Chubb make a nice pair in the backfield. Hunt's role in that is as the big play guy. While his speed (90) isn't enormous he has better acceleration (92) and much better agility (92).
His juke move (93) and break tackle (94) are terrific and he can catch (71) the ball well too. If you are a run-first player you will want to make an effort to keep Hunt around, but remember that running backs are fairly replaceable in Madden so don't go too overboard with your contract offer.
Damarious Randall, Free Safety (86 OVR)
As the starting free safety on a team that is already thin at that position Randall is probably your primary re-signing objective. With good zone coverage (87) and solid athleticism (91 acceleration, 90 speed) he can cover ground and make plays. Behind him in the depth chart there isn't much, with rookie Sheldrick Redwine tough to believe in with his poor zone coverage (63) and awareness (64).
JC Tretter, Center (79 OVR)
The weakness of the Browns offense is their offensive line. JC Tretter is their second-best linemen, but the 28-year-old center is hardly spectacular. Still, it is hard to rebuild an offensive line quickly so re-signing Tretter and focusing your efforts at the tackle position while relying on him to provide decent pass block (81) and run block (79) next to Joel Bitonio.
Cleveland Browns Roster Needs
The Browns needs lie on defense and across the offensive line. Finding a left tackle should be your priority in your first draft class unless you find a stellar cornerback or safety.
Improving the interior offensive line and secondary depth is your next goal. You play nickel & dime defenses a lot in Madden so having a third corner or safety that you trust to play 70 percent of the snaps is key. Players like Greedy Williams could improve, but Terrance Mitchell and TJ Carrie are unlikely to.
Middle linebacker is another spot you should perhaps look to improve. Speed and agility are crucial here as you should be controlling your middle linebacker on most snaps, so things like awareness and play recognition are less important.