Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
Hey Tony: What are the chances of Duke Johnson and the Browns working things out and him being with the team moving forward?
-- Rob, Akron, OH
Hey Rob: The chances are fair. Remember, John Dorsey is under no financial pressure to trade Johnson. There’s no big roster bonus or salary acceleration in Johnson’s contract to force the issue. It will come down to this: If Dorsey can acquire a player to fill a role by trading Johnson, he will do it. I don’t think he would “dump” Johnson for a future draft pick just to accommodate Johnson. The tipoff to a trade would be if Dorsey signs a veteran running back – probably a former Kansas City Chief. Until then, I’d say Johnson won’t be swapped.
Hey Tony: Do you think OBJ will play any snaps this preseason? Do you think the coaching staff will be extra cautious with preseason playing time this year given more definite projected starters and higher expectations?
-- Tom, Saint Mary’s, PA
Hey Tom: If he’s healthy, I would expect Odell Beckham Jr. to play, sparingly, in each of the first three preseason games. I would expect Kitchens to abide by Todd Haley’s philosophy, articulated in the first Hard Knocks episode last year: You can’t live in your fears.
Hey Tony: Will the Browns finally win the first game of the season regardless of who the schedule makers put them against?
-- Aaron, New Philadelphia, OH
Hey Aaron: Everything about this season will be different from the last 20 or so years. So, yes, I would expect the season to start 1-0 – especially if the Week 1 opponent is the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, as I have predicted.
Hey Tony: Even with the OBJ trade the Browns have one more WR spot to solidify. With the abundance of huge receivers in the draft do you see John Dorsey considering any of the in the 2 thru 7 rounds? It would be nice to have a physical jump ball threat.
-- Shawn, Shaker Heights, OH
Hey Shawn: My favorite player in the draft is Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler of Iowa State. He is 6-5, 227 pounds, has the biggest wingspan of any receiver in the draft, and ran a 4.48 40 at the NFL Combine. He averaged 22.0 yards per catch in 2018. What’s not to like? Yet he isn’t mentioned in the top five receivers of the draft. I don’t get it. Would Dorsey take him at No. 49? He has a lot of respect for Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, so I would think he would be interested.
Hey Tony: Has Freddie Kitchens ever had to fire a coach or cut a player? Seems it would be hard for him with his lovable personality.
-- Tom, Shaker Heights, OH
Hey Tom: Good points. But Kitchens was impacted by Bill Parcells in their one year together with the Dallas Cowboys, and Kitchens has seen other head coaches deal with those parts of the job. I think he’ll handle himself well.
Hey Tony: Last season, we had a huge hole to fill with Joe Thomas retiring, and Greg Robinson filled that role well over the final 8 games of the year. This season, we need to replace another OL in Kevin Zeitler with Austin Corbett. Do you feel he’s ready?
-- Anthony, Springboro, OH
Hey Anthony: Replacing a starting left tackle is a tough task, much less a future Hall of Famer. And the Browns did OK in replacing Thomas after some early problems. Replacing a starting right guard won’t be as hard. I think Corbett will justify the Browns’ evaluation of him as the No. 33 pick of the 2019 draft. And if he doesn’t, GM John Dorsey acquired two insurance policies in Eric Kush and Bryan Witzmann.
Hey Tony: If Dorse stays with pick 49 and WR is best player available do you think he takes best player or best player of need?
-- Bobby, Manasota Key, FL
Hey Bobby: The player with the highest grade will be the pick, regardless of position.
Hey Tony: With the draft less than a couple weeks away, there has been speculation that Dorsey may trade back into the first round. How likely is this to actually happen, who would be a potential target and what would we have to give up?
-- Christopher, Little Rock, AR
Hey Christopher: I just don’t see this happening. If he did it, the player probably would be Jeffery Simmons, the defensive tackle of Mississippi State who may not play in 2019 because of a torn ACL in February. Dorsey has done a lot of research on Simmons and considers him a heck of a football player.
Hey Tony: Is Greg Joseph's job safe heading into training camp?
-- Kevin, New Brunswick, NJ
Hey Kevin: Right now, Joseph’s job is safer than … even Baker Mayfield’s. How can I say that? There is no other place-kicker on the roster, at this point. Dorsey will add a kicker for competition, but it sounds as if the Browns are conditioning themselves to bringing back Joseph. New special teams coordinator Mike Priefer likes Joseph.
Hey Tony: Excluding Joe Thomas, if there was one player you could bring back from the Browns 1999-2018 and add to the current roster, who would it be? I'm torn between Lawrence Vickers and Josh Cribbs, myself.
-- G.L., Virginia Beach, VA
Hey G.L.: I love this question. My answer would be Cribbs – whose uniqueness in excelling as a return specialist and as a special teams tackler makes him one of the Browns’ all-time great specialists.
Hey Tony: Was that kick by Rich Karlis good or not? I remember it looked high & wide on TV. Heard it lately more than once, everybody knows that kick was no good.
-- Greg, Westlake, OH
Hey Greg: I was on the field behind the Browns’ bench (then on the south sideline) at the time. I thought the field goal pierced the plane above the left upright, but was not entirely inside it. Nowadays, that kick would be subject to replay review. I’m not sure what would be the ruling.
Hey Tony: Think Duke Johnson plus our 3rd round draft pick is enough to move back into the middle of the first round?
-- Scott, Sharon Township, OH
Hey Scott: No way.