Ben Watson, Mohamed Massaquoi listed as free agents not likely to return

In the wake of the release of veteran defensive end and all-around decent guy Frostee Rucker earlier this week, ESPNClevland’s Tony Grossi speculated as to what unsigned, unrestricted free agents are unlikely to be back in Cleveland for the start of the Joe Banner era.

The most notable may be the fan favorites in Phil Dawson and Joshua Cribbs, but former second-round draft pick Mohammed Massaqoui and veteran tight end Ben Watson also make the list.

“Football is all about territorialism,” writes Grossi, “and the new guys are going to be marking theirs now that they are freed to reconfigure the roster.”

After being one of Eric Mangini’s first selections as the head honcho in Cleveland, Massaquoi failed to amount to much of anything in terms of return. He never topped 36 catches in a season, had two 100-yard games and got severely outplayed by Josh Gordon in 2012. If there is any silver lining, it is that he outlasted fellow second-round picks Brian Robiske and David Veikune when it came to a roster spot in the NFL.

Watson, on the other hand, will be 33 in December and, if not signed, could conceivably earn a spot on a contender as a locker-room leader and backup pass-catcher. He filled in admirably in Cleveland, but it appears that the more athletic and considerably younger Jordan Cameron will get his shot Norv Turner’s next project tight end.

[Related: Joe Banner and the assumed departure of Phil Dawson]

  • Kildawg

    Did anyone really expect Watson and MoMass to be back, given that they both have concussion history? Browns might sign a younger TE or draft one to go behind Cameron. Smelley is most likely to be the FB because he can catch passes, and Alex Smith could be another guy that gets cut/not re-signed.

  • JK

    No surprises to either of those to be honest.

  • MallaLubba

    What does the cap space look like for the Browns this time around?

  • DB

    Over 40 million available and they have to spend close to 30 to get to the mandatory salary floor.

  • mgbode

    not quite. the carry-over does not count ($16mil carryover from last year’s cap).

    we have roughly $48mil that we can spend. $32mil on this year’s cap. We need to spend about $16mil to hit this year’s salary floor though.

  • Jaker

    Not surprised about Massy, at best he’s our 4th WR, Chud/Norv will want there own type of player there. Ughhhh, that ’09 draft just hurts. As it sits, Gordon-Little-Benjamin-Cooper-Rookie?-Veteran?/Cribbs?. Hopefully that rookie or Copper can contribute as much as the often injured Massy.

    As for Watson, I’m a little surprised. He seems like he wants to come back, and we need TE depth, so unless he’s getting a bigger contract elsewhere, I don’t see why we wouldn’t bring him back. It just creates another hole for the team to fill. Cameron and Gronkowski(wrong Gronk) are the only TEs we have.

  • mgbode

    I am going to go on a limb and say you can pencil in Ben Hartsock as our blocking TE. Chud loves that guy and he’s an UFA from Carolina.

    Gary Barnidge is a converted WR to TE also from Carolina that Chud may want to bring in (possibly replacing Cameron).

    We still need a starting/catching TE. I would think Chud would push hard for Delanie Walker who may want a bigger role than he can get playing TE2 to Vernon Davis.

    Honestly though, I fully believe Chud/Norv will have a TE solution in place. They both have been very big on TE’s in their offenses.

  • Jaker

    We should listen to Tony Grossi less. He speculates more than he reports

  • Jaker

    I like Walker a lot, but it seems like he’s getting a big deal this offseason. I have faith in Chud/Norv because they use the TE more than anyone else (literally) and have been able to find value where you wouldn’t expect it, Kent State’s basketball team. If they bring in Walker, expect bigger things than 50 catches for 500 yards

  • LesFleursDuMal

    Robiskie is still in the league, with the Lions and I think he even caught a TD this season…

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Bye bye Mohammed Massacred!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Alex Smith is still here.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Walker would be nice.

  • MrCleaveland

    Well, MoMass had one moment of glory while he was here. He wound up on the cover of Sports Illustrated getting his spine bent back in half by that criminal James Harrison.

    Best of luck to him. He started to come on a little bit last season before he got hurt again.

  • derek

    Drops too many balls for me


    Anyone else (other than Mack) that should have an extension coming their way this offseason? Is it too early for Haden? These pay increases would take a chunk of the $16M we need to spend.

  • Harv 21

    Grossi’s speculation is common sense. Watson may have been one of the better players on horrible offensive teams but he’s just an average NFL tight end, now older and concussed. Shouldn’t he that hard to find an affordable, younger replacement of equal or better quality. Re Jordan Cameron, I have yet to see the uber-athleticism Heckert and Shurmur liked to talk about translate to a game situation. Not a game-breaker or obvious mismatch, looks like just another TE with good speed, decent hands and bad blocking skills.

    And MoMass needs to retire with his marbles still intact. Not his fault or the team’s fault – some guys don’t have the bodies to survive this vicious league. I know he won’t voluntarily retire, just wish he would.

  • DB

    Okay. I was going off Grossi’s article. Your numbers make Haslam’s remarks about no big FA splash seems a little more likely. Grossi’s numbers made it look like they would have to sign a couple of big contracts.

  • NoVA Buckeye

    I’d love to see Hartsock back in the Buckeye State.

  • Jaker

    I think he’s a free agent. Besides, he’s depth at best, Watson can start. Smith? Don’t think so.

  • mgbode

    exactly. to evaluate and utilize a TE, I don’t think we could have better coaches in place.

  • mgbode

    I thought we moved him to FB anyway 😉

  • mgbode

    i also expect that we’ll sign a few 2nd/3rd tier FAs to replace some of the veterans we are losing. nothing “splashy” just guys in the $3mil-$6mil range.

  • mgbode

    deep TD bomb catch vs. Miami from Colt in Shurmur’s first season

  • Porckchop

    A brief pause to recognize Eric Mangini’s entrance into a rarefied brotherhood.

    Joining Jean Van Develde, Mike Tyson, and the 2007 Dallas Mavericks in the Worst Single Round Performance Hall of Fame.

  • RGB

    We need a faster TE to help stretch the field for JaMarcus’s prodigious arm.

  • RGB

    Don’t let Cleveland Frowns hear that. That guy worships the ground Mangenius walks on.

  • That “new guys” narrative is tired. It’s not about territoriality or making a mark. It’s about cutting ineffective or overpaid players (all above)–and as much as Dawson is a class act and favorite, a 38 year old $3m kicker isn’t the top priority for a 4-12 rebuilding team. Good luck Phil. Hope you finish your career well.

  • Kildawg

    Brent Grimes would be intriguing. We might be able to bring him in at that range due to him recovering from injury. A good FS and OLBs are also definite possibilities. However, none of the guys we bring in would be over 30 due to Banner. We might even draft that Punter Wing from LSU late in the draft (5th round at the earliest though) and Mathieu would be a solid 4th round pickup (3rd seems too early for him IMO).