I have three words for Eric Mangini and George Kokinis if they are seriously considering cutting veteran running back Jamal Lewis:
In the Plain-Dealer this morning, Mary Kay-Cabot wonders if the Browns will do just that, despite the fact they already paid him a $3.5 million bonus this offseason and that his only backups are the current injured Jerome Harrison and sixth-round rookie James Davis, who has apparently become the next Jim Brown after one 81-yard scamper against the Detroit WinlessLions.
A quick excerpt:
Could Browns running back Jamal Lewis be cut today when the Browns trim their roster to 53?
NFL sources said rumblings began a couple of days ago that Lewis, who turned 30 last week, could be one of the dozen players the Browns let go, and ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter on Friday put Lewis at the top of his list of big-name players on the bubble. Nationalfootballpost.com’s Mike Lombardi also speculated Lewis will be cut.
Among the many reasons why I think this would be a terrible move:
- It makes the $3.5 million already given to Lewis basically just a colossal waste of money.
- Lewis has done a tremendous job of accepting that his role will likely be reduced this year and has taken to mentoring Davis, who went to the same high school as Lewis. For a rookie RB, this must be invaluable.
- Jamal Lewis may be too old and slow to be a featured, wear-'em-down type back any more, but he can still churn out tough yards and get goalline carries. Have Jerome Harrison of James Davis proven they can do this?
- As much as we all want to hope that the Browns can engineer a Dolphins- or Falcons-like turnaround in 2009, the fact of the matter is that the Browns are more likely than not building for the future.
Unless there is something we don't know about Lewis' willingness to play the role of good soldier under the regime, there is no reason to cut him and prevent Jerome and James from having his experience and leadership at their disposal.
- Jamal Lewis is one of the few leaders on this offense. With Brady Quinn, a first-year starter, likely to take over as the QB, why not give him the support of a veteran in the backfield who can allow Quinn to grow into his leadership role.
I could go on and on. Yes, the Browns would save some money cutting Lewis, but I think it would be a terribly myopic decision. Hopefully when the final cuts are announced, Lewis' name will not be among them and we can put this foolish story behind us.