The NFL's 2018 free agency will not start until Wednesday but the Cleveland Browns are already incredibly busy. The team, which entered the week with a league-high $114.4 million in salary cap space and a league-high 12 draft selections, has started making some noteworthy transactions – moves that also have an indirect impact on the New England Patriots and the division they play in.
First, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Cleveland traded for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry. The Browns will send two draft picks to the Patriots' division rivals – a fourth-rounder (selection number 123 overall) this year and a seventh-rounder in 2019 – and in return receive the recently franchise-tagged wideout.
About an hour later, the Browns made another big transaction: As also first reported by Adam Schefter, Cleveland acquired Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor via trade. Cleveland moves a third round selection – the 65th overall pick – to Buffalo in order to acquire the Bills' starting quarterback of the last three seasons.
The Browns' Friday afternoon trading spree, which also included shipping quarterback DeShone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers for cornerback Damarious Randall, means that two of the AFC East's top players will leave division. New England should be especially happy that Landry is now gone as the 25-year old was the Dolphins' best wide receiver and frequently performed well against New England.
The Patriots faced Landry eight times and he caught an average of 6.9 passes per contest for 77.1 receiving yards. Not exactly outstanding numbers but reflection of how dangerous a player he was even when New England's defense was focusing on him as the number one receiving threat on the Dolphins' roster – a threat that is now gone and leaves Miami with DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills as the top two targets.
Cleveland trading for Tyrod Taylor is more of a mixed bag from the Patriots' perspective. On one hand, he led the team to the playoffs last year and is a dangerous dual-threat player so it is good to see him gone. On the other hand, though, the move does put the Bills into the quarterback draft market – one that also has the Patriots looking for a new backup passer and potential heir to Tom Brady. Buffalo is now another competitor when it comes to selecting a quarterback early next month.