The ball started rolling in the right direction when the team dealt tight end Kellen Winslow for two draft picks on the first day of NFL free agency. Many were surprised that the team made a move on Day 1, and perhaps the team did not help themselves by doing something so soon. Especially considering that they have very little since then.
If I sound a bit cynical or even frustrated about this, I am. I don’t know what the team plans on accomplishing by having their only free agent signing to this point playing the exact same position that we just traded away; one that was considered to already be “of depth.” The only thing that I gather from the addition of Robert Royal is that Steve Heiden’s recently repaired knee may not be up to speed by the start of the season. I just hope that this doesn’t knock Martin Rucker further down the depth chart, as we’ll be reminded once again this April that we traded away our third-round draft choice for his services.
The frustrating part is compounded by the fact that the team had their sites set onthe young and still improving cornerback of the Bills in Jabari Greer. The team let him “honor his other commitments” by letting him head to New Orleans without a deal in place, and next thing we see is that we low-balled on a contract offer and he signs with the Saints to the tune of four-years, $23 million.
The Browns were slated to have a visit from cornerback Andre Goodman this past Sunday. Goodman visited Denver on Saturday, but agreed to an offer (five-year, $25 million) with the Broncos before even getting aboard a plane en route to Hopkins International. The guaranteed figure of nearly $10 million would have made any other cornerback in his 30s cancel a flight. However, this just shows what it takes to get a four-star cornerback. The Saints locked up Greer for $10 million, and he’s only 27 years of age.
James Sanders, the 25-year old safety out of New England was said to have drawn some attention from the Browns. End result: Sanders re-signs with the Patriots for three-years and $9 million.
Good news is that the Browns are reportedly hot on the trail of former New York Jet free agents David Bowens and C.J. Mosley – both defensive players. Bad news is that Bowens is having knee issues and may not pass a physical and that Mosley would not even start, providing us with some more “depth.”
Other defensive players seeing their name tied to the Cleveland Browns are Paris Lenon and Heath Farwell. Lenon is coming off of a season that saw him record over 120 tackles, and many feel that he would be a good fit in the middle of the Browns 3-4 defense. Farwell, however, is coming off of ACL surgery as is mostly known for his work on special teams.
In no way do I think that this team isn’t trying to do something. We were told from day one that they were going to ignore the first wave of signings, focusing more on the undervalued players later on. But I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t frustrated by seeing other teams locking up these high-impact defensive players.
But for now, I guess we an all welcome the addition of Robert Royal. More to come. Hopefully.
(photo via Mr. Oliver)