The Cleveland Browns continue to make moves that are toying with the hopes of New York Giants fans.
On Wednesday morning, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Browns will sign former San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde to a three-year, $15 million deal.
Hyde has shown flashes of becoming a premier back in the NFL, but inconsistencies and injuries have robbed him of any sort of withstanding success. That could come with a change of scenery in Cleveland, where he will join Duke Johnson in the backfield.
But it also could eliminate the thought of the team drafting Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the No. 1-overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft; something that seemed like a sure thing just a few days ago.
After an 0-16 season, the hapless Browns suddenly became the aggressors, trading for Miami Dolphins Pro-Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry and Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The latter deal was thought to take Cleveland out of the running for a quarterback with that first pick in a draft with plenty of first-round-caliber passers.
That left Barkley, the most impressive talent in the 2018 draft class, as the clear choice to join a suddenly dangerous-looking offense that now features Taylor under center, wide receivers Landry, Cory Coleman and Josh Gordon along with a strong offensive line.
The Giants had been very high on Barkley and he looked to be their top choice with the No. 2 pick of the draft after their dismal 3-13 campaign. However, it looked as though they would have to settle for Plan B, whether that be a quarterback for the future in Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield or Lamar Jackson, offensive lineman Quenton Nelson or defensive end Bradley Chubb.
Hyde joining Johnson in the Browns backfield though does increase the chances of Barkley “falling” into the Giants laps at No. 2. Johnson is one of the better receiving backs in the league while Hyde could flourish behind the Browns strong offensive line. And signing him to a three-year deal states the team’s intentions for him as its bell-cow back.
It would be a confusing move if Barkley went No. 1 overall just for him to be used sparingly upon his arrival to the NFL.