Teams don’t construct championship rosters by building through free agency, but it never hurts to add a couple of affordable and proven pieces to the fold.
Ask the Seattle Seahawks how important free agency is after adding defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to cheap one-year deals last spring.
Sometimes, teams are a player or two away from greatness.
No one is saying the 2014 Cleveland Browns are ready to make that leap, especially with new coaches and potentially a rookie quarterback behind center.
However, the Browns do have youth and talent in their corner. Cleveland was the NFL’s second-youngest team at the start of the 2013 NFL season and almost surely will be younger by opening day next year after letting Willis McGahee as well as other veterans like Jason Campbell and Shawn Lauvao walk.
Despite being so young, there are certainly some bright spots on the lower end of the age spectrum.
Six players, all under the age of 30 and three under 25, were sent to Hawaii to represent the Browns at this past season's Pro Bowl, with Joe Thomas being the lone oldie of the bunch at 29 years old.
It hasn’t happened yet, but the Browns could be in position to make a Kansas City-like leap after offseason coaching and quarterback changes. In order to make it happen, they have to keep their in-house talent and pick up a couple of key players in the process.
Here are the odds of them reeling in their likely top targets, both on the open market and in their own locker room.