10 Last-Minute Free Agents the Cleveland Browns Should Sign
The preseason is over for the Cleveland Browns, but they are not a finished product. The team still has holes at linebacker, wide receiver and in the secondary.
The team needs to also make sure they have enough depth to cover the possible suspensions of Joe Haden and Scott Fujita.
With more than 700 players being released today, the Browns should be able to fill some of those positions of need on the roster.
The Browns got started by creating some holes of their own by releasing veterans Seneca Wallace, Evan Moore and Brian Schaefering.
They will have to make quick decisions, as preparation for the first game of the season starts on Monday.
Let's take a look at a few players the Browns should sign to fill those holes.
Linebacker Help from Buffalo
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The Browns' hole at linebacker got bigger today when Tom Heckert confirmed that James Michael Johnson is going to be out for "a little while" (per the team's website). So it looks like it will be D'Qwell Jackson, Kaluka Miava, and L.J. Fort starting against the Eagles.
The Browns added some depth with the waiver pickup of Tank Carder, the former Buffalo Bill linebacker was a 5th round pick in 2012. In 2011 Carder was named the MVP of the Rose Bowl.
Browns Added a Kitchen to the Defensive Line
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Veteran Quarterback Needed
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Pat Shurmur coached AJ Feeley in Philadelphia and with the Rams. Feeley would instantly be able to provide the steady veteran quarterback presence in Cleveland.
The release of Seneca Wallace leaves an experience void in the Browns quarterback room and on the sidelines. Colt McCoy definitely earned the backup job, but youthful quarterbacks on the Browns roster need an experience sounding board to learn from.
AJ Feeley provided Sam Bradford with that sounding board, and he threw for 3,512 yards in his rookie year under Pat Shurmur.
Yes, the Browns Still Need Help at Wide Receiver
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Mardy Gilyard was drafted by the Rams in the fourth round when Pat Shurmur was the offensive coordinator. He spent preseason with the Eagles, giving him more experience in the West Coast offense.
His familiarity with the system would allow him to come in without having to play catch up, and he could provide needed experience to the wide receiver group.
Another Veteran Option at Receiver
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Linebacker Is Big Hole on the Browns Roster
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Chris Gocong is out for the season with an Achilles injury, and D'Qwell Jackson has only played one full season in three years. They have a lot of youth on at the linebacker spot, which could be problematic.
Signing Greg Jones could help stop the bleeding. The former Giants linebacker started five games last year; he also is only in his second year which would keep up with the Browns' youth movement.
The Browns Need Some Extra Coverage at Corner
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Joselio Hanson could be just what the doctor ordered to cover for Joe Haden, who might be out on suspension.
He could also help with the home-opener game plan, with a little knowledge about the Eagles playbook.
Another Option for a Veteran Quarterback
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If AJ Feeley is not interested in playing anymore, then Sage Rosenfels would be a good option for the Browns.
He has a long background in the West Coast offense, and he played for Brad Childress. Rosenfels is another guy who could come right into the Browns quarterback room without a learning curve.
A Little More Safety Help
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The Browns plan to start T.J. Ward and Eric Hagg at safety, with Usama Young backing up both safety spots.
The depth at the position is a little thin and light on experience with the departure of Mike Adams to Denver.
Usama Young is just returning to practice after missing the entire preseason with an injury. O.J. Atogwe would provide insurance in case of injury or if Eric Hagg can't handle the starting spot when the regular season starts. His price tag should be low since he has his own injury issues.
In-State Linebacker Help
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The Browns don't have to look far for linebacker help with the Bengals releasing Roddrick Muckelroy.
The former teammate of Colt McCoy at Texas, Muckelroy could provide depth at the linebacker position that is thin due to injuries and suspension.
The third-year player's AFC North experience would also be a benefit to the younger linebackers on the team.
Take Your Pick of Ex New England Receivers
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Deion Branch and Jabar Gaffney are available right now; as vested veterans they don't have to pass through waivers.
The Browns should be on the phone with their agents trying to get deal done before the weekend is over.
Jabar Gaffney has been available for a few days, and as my fellow featured columnist Gary Davenport wrote, it's puzzling as to why the Browns haven't signed him.
Drayton Florence Would Provide Depth in the Secondary
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The 10-year veteran, released by the Broncos, would also be another candidate to fill in for Joe Haden during his possible suspension.
He played for the Browns' defensive coordinator Dick Jauron in his last year as the coach of the Buffalo Bills.
If signed and he stayed on the roster all season, his practices against Peyton Manning could help the Browns in their matchup with the Broncos at the end of the season.