Cleveland Browns: 5 Players to Re-Sign and Release During the 2011 Offseason
The 2011 Cleveland Browns offseason will certainly be filled with many questions as the NFL's new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL draft and free agency will all be topics of discussion with the team moving forward.
A key element of the free agency period wills the team's decision on who to re-sign and who to let go from the current 53-man roster.
The Browns currently have 13 players that will be eligible for free agency.
The following is a list of 10 players (five from each side) that the Cleveland Browns should re-sign or release before the 2011 season.
Getting Started: Who Is Up for Free Agency After This Season?
As previously stated, the Browns have 12 players eligible for free agency after this season.
According to Toni Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the eligible player list is as follows.
The potential unrestricted free agents are:
Running back Mike Bell, kicker Phil Dawson, linebacker Matt Roth, quarterback Seneca Wallace, offensive lineman Floyd Womack, cornerback Eric Wright and offensive lineman Billy Yates.
The potential restricted free agents are:
Safety Abram Elam, punter Reggie Hodges, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, linebacker Jason Trusnik and fullback Lawrence Vickers.
So what should the Cleveland Browns do?
No. 5 Player to Release: D'Qwell Jackson
D'Qwell Jackson became a force on a young and inexperienced Browns defense early in his career.
Unfortunately for the Browns, Jackson has not been able to keep off the injured list as he has had two consecutive season-ending pectoral injuries.
In Jackson's absence, the Browns have accumulated a strong core of linebackers that have all flourished under Rob Ryan's system.
Space is simply limited among the the linebacker corps on the Browns defense and it may be too big of a risk to sign an injury-prone linebacker that has not seen significant action in nearly a year and a half.
No. 4 Player to Release: Mike Bell
Even though Mike Bell was a midseason acquisition for the Browns this year, his value has seemed to take a significant decrease since he took over the feature back role in New Orleans one short season ago.
Bell has played behind Peyton Hillis since being acquired from Philadelphia for former Browns running back, Jerome Harrison.
This season, Bell has not exactly taken advantage of the touches he has received. Bell has a total of 30 carries on the year for 32 yards.
Fourteen of those carries have come with the Browns for a total of eight yards.
Bell has a more expanded role because of injury to Monterio Hardesty. When Hardesty returns from injury, Cleveland will have to make a decision on who will be retained among the stack of current Browns runningbacks.
Bell's future will ultimately depend on the Browns' drafting and the progression of current runningbacks, Thomas Clayton and Clifton Smith.
No. 3 Player to Release: Jason Trusnik
Jason Trusnik may prove to be a tough decision when it comes to the Browns' offseason plans.
Trusnik has been moderately successful with his opportunities that he has received but is simply not progressing fast enough to become a quality linebacker on an every game basis.
Trusnik only has seven tackles this season and has significantly decreased his numbers from his standout year in 2009.
The Browns must decide whether or not the available linebackers in free agency can equal or be a step-up from Trusnik's production.
So far this season, that shouldn't be much of a problem for many linebackers out there.
No. 2 Player to Cut: Floyd Womack
Now that the Browns are developing a quality rushing attack, it is time for the offensive line to begin getting younger and more mobile.
Floyd Womack has been playing this game for a long time, but has lost a step or two with his age.
Now in his 10th season, Womack has started nine games for the Browns but has obtained those starts simply because lack of a better option.
If the Browns can develop their young linemen and possibly pick up one during free agency, Floyd Womack may very well be at the top of the chopping block.
No. 1 Player to Cut: Eric Wright
Eric Wright has been one of the major disappointments of the 2010-11 season and is becoming more and more of a liability every week he steps onto the field.
Apart from the big-play ability that he had shown in previous years, Wright has continuously been burned by the better receivers in the league and has shown repeatedly that he does not have the skill to be a starting corner at this phase in his career.
Every player is entitled to one bad season so the decision to keep or cut Wright is a toss up to anyone at this point. Wright will more than likely not remain a starter if he is retained by the team after this season.
Players to Keep
Now that five players have been "cut" from the Browns current free agent list, now is the time to see who Cleveland should retain...
No.5 Player to Keep: Seneca Wallace
Seneca Wallace has proved that he can play at a high quality in the NFL and can be useful to the Browns in many several ways.
Whether it be in specialty formations or in the quarterback position, Wallace has shown to be a better fit in the Browns' systems than other backup quarterback, Jake Delhomme.
Wallace has shown mobility, leadership and smart decision-making. Those three qualities should land him at least a backup position on the Browns roster for an extended period of time.
No.4 Player to Keep: Reggie Hodges
Reggie Hodges has been one of the better punters in the NFL this season.
With a team that lacks a significant amount of star power, field position is a key element of success and Hodges has pinned opponents deep time and time again for the Browns' defense.
Dave Zastudil started the season as the Browns punter but has since been cut after injury, leaving Hodges as the main candidate as the punter for the future in Cleveland.
No. 3 Player to Keep: Matt Roth
Matt Roth has simply been a monster at the linebacker position for the Browns this season.
After some quickly discussed off-season trade rumors, Roth got back to football during the preseason and never looked back as he has become one of the more feared players among the defensive unit.
in 2010, Roth is only seven tackles away from having a career year statistically, and has become a fan favorite with the Browns.
Keeping Roth within the Browns' linebacker corps would keep consistency among the defensive starting unit. That in itself is a quality that usually spells success.
No.2 Player to Keep: Phil Dawson
It is hard to imagine present day Cleveland Browns football without thinking about Phil Dawson.
Dawson is currently the longest tenured Browns player and has been the kicker since the teams' return in 1999.
Even though Dawson is getting older, he is still one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL and shows no signs of inconsistency with age.
Over the course of his 11-year career with the Browns, Dawson has completed 244 field goals and a 83.0 field goal percentage.
No. 1 Player to Keep: Lawrence Vickers
Lawrence Vickers is undoubtedly one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL and has been a bit of a sneaky weapon coming out of the Browns backfield in recent years.
Vickers has paved the way for the Browns running backs of the past several years and can be a key asset to a successful running game in the future.
Vickers' only downside is that he is not very skilled at running the football which could hinder the team in third down playcalling. But, with Peyton Hillis on the active roster, there is really no reason for Vickers to even touch the football.
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