A Realistic Free Agent Wish List for the Cleveland Browns, Based on Cap Space
All signs point to the Cleveland Browns changing out decision makers in 2013. No matter who is calling the shots for free agency, they will have a lot of money to work with. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the Browns are approximately $18 million under next years projected cap.
The $18 million may be another key reason that new owner Jimmy Haslam is optimistic about the team turning things around in 2013, with or without Tom Heckert as the general manager.
The Browns have a nice foundation of talent and the large amount of cap space in a flat market that can allow them to get good quick.
Let's see what good young players the Browns can buy in 2013.
The Browns have made a great improvement in terms of production from the wide receiver position this year, but they still lack a veteran presence and an established playmaker. It's one thing to have a veteran in the wide receiver corps, but players really only listen to guys who make plays on Sunday.
So the Browns can't just add some old vet who is at the end of his career in order to help the young receiver group. They need someone who is a true playmaker like Greg Jennings, who is also still in the prime of his career.
The Green Bay Packers do not normally roll out the Brinks truck for veterans, no matter how productive they have been for the team. Ted Thompson believes in building through the draft and that his young players will step in to take over for veterans when their price tag gets too high.
The Browns will have to overpay, but they will have enough money to get Jennings in brown and orange in 2013.
The Dallas Cowboys brought in Brandon Carr in free agency and drafted Morris Claiborne last year with Mike Jenkins already on the roster.
The rumors of Dallas trading Jenkins persisted all the way up to the trading deadline, but ultimately, he did not get moved.
The Browns, in general, will have to overpay to get free agents, but they should not have to overpay too much to bring in Jenkins.
As far as the team's cornerbacks go, the Browns cut Dimitri Patterson, and Buster Skrine doesn't look ready to take over. The Browns will most likely let Sheldon Brown go when his contract expires at the end of the year.
So the Browns will have a major need for a cornerback in 2013, and Jenkins could help stop the bleeding.
Dashon Goldson is currently playing with the franchise tag, and unless the 49ers give him a new deal before the new league year starts, he will be a free agent again this offseason. Goldson is one of the best young safeties in the NFL and would be a major upgrade for the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns need a playmaker at safety. Usama Young just hasn't fit the bill and T.J. Ward has not been able to stay healthy for the past two seasons.
T.J. Ward is at his best when playing close to the line of scrimmage and has trouble providing coverage over the top on double teams. Goldson would require a huge payday to come to Cleveland, but the Browns have the money.
If Cleveland could land Dashon Goldson, it would give them a playmaker at every level of the defense. He would compliment Joe Haden, D'Qwell Jackson, and the defensive line very well.