Browns' Jerry Jeudy trade will do little to unseat Ravens in AFC North race

Jeudy won't move the needle in Cleveland

Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens
Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens fired a very loud opening salvo as the AFC North begins their free agency preparation, signing Justin Madubuike to a long-term contract extension worth $98 million over four years. The Cleveland Browns, trying desperately to prove they can contend in the AFC, fired back by adding a wide receiver in need of a change of scenery.

The Browns acquired wide receiver Jerry Jeudy from the Denver Broncos as Sean Payton looks to begin a fire sale in Colorado. Acquiring him for just a fifth-round and sixth-round pick, Cleveland now will utilize Jeudy, Amari Cooper, and Elijah Moore in their base 11 personnel offense.

Considering that Cleveland's defense was so mighty it dragged Joe Flacco to the postseason this year, the idea of getting more skill position players on an offense that has Nick Chubb returning could be quite frightening. However, Ravens fans shouldn't necessarily lose sleep just yet.

The Browns are still a flawed team that has issues at quarterback and faces the possibility of seeing key components of their defense leave in free agency. Jeudy is a solid addition that will make the passing game better, but they need to do a lot more to unseat the Ravens in the AFC North chase.

Baltimore Ravens shouldn't be scared by Browns after Jerry Jeudy trade

Cleveland's defense, led by Defensive Player of the Year Myles Garrett, will be strong again. However, they gave up at least 22 points in all but one of their final seven games, including three games with 31 points allowed. That regression near the end of the year is not insignificant.

The Browns' quarterback woes centered around Deshaun Watson are still present. Watson is a major injury risk coming off a shoulder injury that limited him to six games last year, and he was well below average when he did play. Adding Jeudy as the No. 3 wide receiver over rookie Cedric Tillman won't change that.

Jeudy may be nothing more than a one-year rental, as he is a free agent after this season. Watson's guaranteed contract will eat into their salary cap, and Cooper might be more deserving of a contract based on production than Jeudy. The fact that Jeudy only has 11 touchdowns in four seasons doesn't exactly cover him in glory.

The Ravens and Browns both have strong cores that will help them remain competitive, but with Cleveland's defense turning out to be a bit of a paper tiger in the postseason and the uncertainty at quarterback, even a Jeudy-led Browns are a tier below the Ravens.