There have been rumors for months that the Cleveland Browns are shopping receiver Braylon Edwards after a disappointing 2008 season.
I know Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has already pulled the trigger on one blockbuster deal this offseason, and I know draft picks really can't be part of the equation because of the Jay Cutler deal. But there's still a possibility.
My rationale has two parts here. First, if Angelo's lobotomy completion turned him into a trade machine that made the Cutler deal, it apparently isn't too much to dream anymore as a Bears fan.
Second, Angelo was rumored to be in the mix for Arizona's Anquan Boldin on draft day, so he's obviously looking to add a receiver.
In 2009, the Bears project to be approximately $19 million under the salary cap, while the Browns look to be in the same neighborhood at $17 million. So both teams have financial flexibility, yet trends would indicate neither wants to add big dollars.
Here's my proposition: In exchange for Edwards, the Bears would send CB Nathan Vasher, DE Alex Brown, and a fifth-round draft pick.
Edwards' cap figure in 2009 will be somewhere around $8 million, which is roughly the same area as Brown and Vasher combined. Brown could be a good defensive end in the Browns' 3-4 scheme, as he plays the run and the pass well, and Vasher would give them depth in the secondary.
Brown had 13 tackles for a loss and six sacks in 2008, numbers that would have ranked first on the Browns in both categories. He would be an obvious upgrade from what they had on their line.
Brown likely becomes expendable because of the Bears drafting two defensive linemen this spring, and with Adewale Oguleye's contract making him concrete on the Bears' books. The Bears' pick of Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore, a short, takeaway-oriented corner with good speed, makes Vasher expendable as well.
The draft pick would give the Browns additional upward mobility in 2010's draft. While Cleveland did draft a defensive end in the second round this year, Hawaii's David Veikune, this deal would give them depth at the position and a mentor for the youngster to learn from.
So the money is nearly even between the three players, and the players help the teams they would be heading to in this proposed swap. Now it's just up to the two GMs to make it happen.