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In an article by Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns have some critical decisions to make regarding free agency:
Before the Browns can plot their strategy in NFL free agency, which begins on March 13, they have to finalize decisions on their own potential free agents.
They have five key players who will be unrestricted free agents if they don't re-sign.
The five players Grossi mentions are running back Peyton Hillis, kicker Phil Dawson, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, corner Dimitri Patterson and safety Mike Adams.
Here, Cleveland needs to retain kicker Phil Dawson and linebacker D'Qwell Jackson more than any of the five. Hillis isn't a bad loss, as the Browns will have Brandon Jackson and Montario Hardesty to rely on in 2012.
Also, with a top-five pick in the draft, Cleveland needs to take LSU corner Morris Claiborne if St. Louis drafts Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon. And with their second first-round pick, Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict would help defend the run and get quarterback pressure.
Through free agency, the Browns should approach a receiver to boost the passing game and draft a mid-round quarterback to compete with Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace.
In a division run by defense, Cleveland needs to step up in the trenches and get a lock-down player opposite of Joe Haden.