Given their inability to win football games for the better part of two decades, the Cleveland Browns are hardly a coveted landing spot for most NFL players.
That’s why when Jarvis Landry was traded from the Miami Dolphins to Cleveland earlier this offseason, he felt as though Dolphins head coach Adam Gase made the move to punish him.
“I just felt like, for some reason, Adam sent me here to die,” Landry said in an ESPN profile by Elizabeth Merrill.
According to Landry, Gase would try to get the most out of his players by jokingly threatening to trade them to Cleveland if they didn’t get their act together, in reference to the New England Patriots trading Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins to the Browns during the 2016 season.
Rather than head to his new team with a negative attitude, Landry has embraced the opportunity. In fact, he chose the Browns.
Landry revealed the finalists for his services were Cleveland and the Baltimore Ravens, and he was intrigued by working with Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley and was concerned he would receive fewer opportunities in the passing game in Baltimore due to the Ravens’ focus on the ground game.
“Let’s do Cleveland,” Landry recalled telling his agent, Damarius Bilbo.
Cleveland sent a pair of draft picks in exchange for the three-time Pro Bowler in March. He wasted little time committing to his new team, signing a five-year, $75.5 million extension a month after the trade.
Miami initially placed the franchise tag on the fifth-year receiver early in the offseason, and he quickly signed the tender, guaranteeing him approximately $16 million in 2018. When it became clear the two sides would not reach a long-term deal, the wideout was given permission to seek a trade.
Landry acknowledged that he had a strained relationship with Gase, noting that he felt there was a lack of trust between the coach and player. He did, however, say that he is “grateful” the Dolphins drafted and supported him.
The Miami chapter of his career is behind him, and he is now all-in on Cleveland. Landry’s brother Gerard, who is also his manager, has even looked into trying to get a banner of the receiver put up on the same downtown building the iconic LeBron James sign hung for years.
Cleveland is just 1-31 over the past two seasons, but Landry believes he can help turn things around in The Land.
“I’ve been working this offseason to put myself in place to earn the respect of all the Clevelanders,” Landry said. “And to have the opportunity to be recognized as another great player that has touched the city of Cleveland.”
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught five passes for 62 yards as the Dolphins picked apart the Denver Broncos to the tune of a 35-9 victory Sunday.
The performance gave him 80 receptions for the year, making Landry the first NFL player to record at least 80 grabs in each of his first four seasons, per the league’s official site.
Landry—a late second-round pick in 2014—has surpassed 90 receptions and 1,100 receiving yards each of the past two seasons. Although he has just 699 yards in 12 games, putting him at risk of falling short of 1,000 yards on the season, Landry has caught a career-high six touchdown passes this term.
While he may not catch as much hype as former LSU teammate Odell Beckham Jr., Landry has been a model of consistency since entering the league, and the 2017 season has been no exception.
Apart from the first game of his career, in which Landry was held to zero receptions, he has logged at least three receptions in all but one game, a 2015 tilt against the Baltimore Ravens wherein he caught two passes. He has yet to finish a game with less than five receptions this season.
In addition to being a steady producer on offense, Landry has been consistent with his availability. Heading into Week 14, the fourth-year wideout has not missed a game for the Dolphins. Landry will next take the field Sunday, when the Dolphins host the New England Patriots in an AFC East matchup.
“This is my guy,” Beckham Jr. said of Landry. “This is everything I ever dreamed of and more. I am just really excited about the opportunity. I can’t lie. I am looking at it, I feel it and I think this is the biggest blessing, especially being able to be here for him.
We used to call each other every, single day, and I know this life gets hard. We go through our ups and downs, and I felt like I couldn’t be there for him all the time, even if it was just by phone call. Now, I can really be there for him. I can be back in his life, and that is something I prayed for. Be careful what you wish for.”
Miles was impressed by how Landry and Beckham Jr. would compete in practice, and even afterward, where they perfected the art of making one-handed catches, which has become a staple in their games.
“This reason this all happened is because of him,” Beckham Jr. said. “We would sneak into the facility at midnight and shoot JUGS until 2 a.m. We would be like, ‘Let’s go outside and talk,’ and we would go throw right outside our room, throwing the football back and forth and playing 20 or 21.
“Him throwing the ball as hard as he can at me and you just have to catch it. The worst throws possible, you have to catch it. All the one-handed catches came from him. He started it.”
Landry and Beckham Jr. will be coached with the Browns by wide receivers coach Adam Henry, same man who mentored them at LSU.
“Obviously, I think the thing that makes Adam so special — we had are times together at LSU — but he was a part of the recruiting process for me in high school and things like that, so he knows a lot about our lives inside and out,” Landry recalled.
“I would say there are things I guess you can call ‘trigger points’ that makes you reflect on the time, that motivates us to go harder and do more. He knows all of it. Pretty much, he has the leash on the dogs and just let them go.”
And that is music to the ears of quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is very much looking forward to throwing passes to both Landry and Beckham Jr. during the 2019 season.
“Throwing to him and just running routes on air and realizing all of the potential and the talent he has, it is unique,” Mayfield said. “Not many are able to do it. Then you have to LSU Tigers next to each other, and that is a dangerous duo. It is going to be a lot of fun, but it is something you dream about.”