It is no secret that the Browns are still a team in transition, building for the future. Team President and GM Mike Lombardi have already shown they have their own agenda and anyone who was brought in during the run of the previous regime shouldn’t feel safe.
Today at 4:00 PM, the NFL has its trade deadline. It has been no secret that certain members of the team have appeal and could be had for the right price. If you don’t think that Banner isn’t shopping players despite what his coach Rob Chudzinski said yesterday, then you are fooling yourself. You didn’t think Trent Richardson was going to go anywhere either did you?
While I think that the Browns will probably stay put and not make any deals, here are six candidates to get sent packing should Banner get the right price.
Josh Gordon – This is not exactly news. Gordon is clearly the most talented receiver this city has seen since Webster Slaughter and Reggie Langhorne. They have been searching for years to find a legitimate deep threat and they finally have one. Of course, Josh comes with baggage and is just one strike away from a full year suspension should he violate the league’s banned substance policy.
The threat of suspension is actually a blessing and a curse for Gordon and the Browns. If you are Banner you may look at Gordon’s ability and know that you can get at least second round pick for him, but many teams look at his off the field problems and get scared off. You also may not trust him one bit and know he is one more slip up away from losing a full year on the field. Would a team like the Detroit Lions who would LOVE a guy like Gordon playing across from Calvin Johnson, take a shot? What about the New England Patriots who are badly in need of a big play receiver? Bill Belichick is after all the new Father Flanagan of the NFL. Hey, the Colts need a WR with Reggie Wayne lost for the season. Why not call up Ryan Grigson again?
I think the threat of suspension keeps Gordon in Cleveland, which is fine by me.
Jordan Cameron – Like Gordon, Cameron is the type of athletic, pass catcher that this offense is built for. So why is his name out there in trade rumors? Well, because he was a Tom Heckert/Mike Holmgren draft pick and if the right price comes along, can be replaced. Cameron has flourished this season under the former Tight End Chudzinski and has tremendous hands. Teams like the Chiefs or even the Patriots, who love to run two TE sets and have badly missed Aaron Hernandez’s on field prowess, would be thrilled to have him. If an offer of a third rounder came across for Cameron, would Banner bite? I bet he would.
Jabaal Sheard – Up until he got hurt, Sheard had really taken the switch from Defensive End to 3-4 Outside Linebacker. While he has looked good when healthy, Banner drafted right over him with Barkevious Mingo. I am a Sheard fan, but if the Browns have one depth unit to trade from, it is the defensive line/outside LB positions.
As my friend @ClevTA mentioned yesterday, the Buffalo Bills are said to be shopping their stud safety Jarius Byrd. You know what the Browns could use? A safety. Sheard for Byrd, who says no? The only negative with acquiring Byrd, he is a free agent at the end of the season and the Browns could not negotiate a long term deal with him until after the season, per the terms of his contract. If they chose to tag him, he would cost $8.3 million in 2014.
Phil Taylor – I sound like a broken record here. Taylor is a nice player but a guy that was drafted by the previous regime. He has handled the 3-4 switch nicely, but with Ahtyba Rubin easily able to handle that nose tackle spot, should a team come along looking for a run stopper and offer up a second or third round pick, I think Banner would have zero problems sending Taylor packing. I will bring up the Patriots again. They lost Vince Wilfork for the season and their defense hasn’t been the same since up front. Wilfork is also going to be 32 years old next year and will be coming off of a torn achilles. Taylor would be the perfect replacement.
Alex Mack – I know this sounds like blasphemy, but keep in mind that everyone expected Mack to have been signed to a long term contract extension by now. He never has. In fact, there has been almost no talk about it from the front office. Banner and his staff may not value Mack the way others in the league do. He is a Pro Bowl caliber player and a rock in the middle of the line. Mack is a solid performer who looks like a guy who should anchor the Browns offensive line for his entire career. Instead, Alex doesn’t know where he stands with the new regime.
Think about the bevy of teams with offensive line problems. If you watched the Seahawks/Rams game last night, you saw the a Seattle line that was getting abused. Seattle’s center Max Unger is no great shakes. Mack would be a solid fit there. What about the Denver Broncos who have had injuries mangle their line? Their center is Manny Ramirez, who was signed as a backup.Both Dan Koppen and J.D. Walton, ahead of Ramirez on the depth chart this summer, are out; Koppen for the season and Walton who may return at some point. Mack would be an upgrade to all.
Greg Little – Talk about a guy who can be had for a song. I think the Browns would take any sort of middle round pick for the former second round pick out of North Carolina. His hands are always a question and his focus can be spotty at times. There are plenty of receiver hungry teams out there as we mentioned above. Little is nothing spectacular and can be easily replaced. I wonder though if the injury to Travis Benjamin keeps him in Cleveland.
(photo via Pioneer Press: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo)