Update: According to Matt Florjancic of ClevelandBrowns.com, the Browns have tendered WR Jordan Norwood and defensive lineman Brian Schaefering. They have also re-signed offensive lineman John Greco.
Peyton Manning—nope. Robert Griffin III—nope. Mario Williams—nope. Which of multiple team needs will Cleveland seek to address in the looming free-agency period, now that the Browns retain both their early draft picks and their remaining cap room?
Factors to consider:
1) Salary cap space;
2) Browns free agents worth keeping;
3) Available outside free agents for needed positions;
4) Players whose agents have a realistic sense of their clients’ worth;
5) Team needs “fillable” through the draft;
6) Drafting for need or value: What is your team’s philosophy?
I’m not trying to rub it in, but the Browns finished 2011 as the 30th-ranked offense. Said offense was 29th in total yards, 24th in passing yards and 28th in rushing yards.
This side of the ball averaged less than 14 points per week. There’s no sugar-coating it—that is positively dreadful.
Ah, but the defense was quite good, right? The strength of the team, right? Well, yes—when the other team passed the ball. The Browns ranked second in passing yards allowed.
Wow. That’s wonderful!
I hate to bring up painful subjects, but the Browns proved virtually incapable of stopping opposing running backs and ranked 30th in ground yards surrendered. Ouch.
So, there are plenty of team “departments” that need help. Dramatic help.
The good news is that almost any player signed or drafted can be used immediately to (hopefully) improve some aspect of the team.
The bad news is that there are a lot of team holes to fill with the $17.4 million the Browns have under the cap and the No. 4, 6, 22 and 37 picks in the draft.
Then there was GM Tom Heckert telling the press on Thursday, March 8: “We are not going to go crazy in free agency. You don’t win football games signing free agents. There is always a reason these guys are available.”
While that is certainly true, one man’s redundant slot receiver is another man’s Wes Welker.
The treasure hunt begins Tuesday at 4PM EDT.