The NFL lockout has produced an astounding number of negative side effects on the 2011 offseason, one of the most notable being the lack of a free agent market. Uncertainty about the future has never been higher for teams like the Browns, who have a number of needs best filled through free agency and have indicated that they'll be aggressive bidders on the open market this year. That is, if that market is ever actually open.
The lockout has forced us all into a "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" mentality this offseason. While we have to prepare for the worst to protect ourselves from the mental anguish that would come with there being no NFL season in 2011, we also have to prepare for the fact that this just might work out, and thus the free agent market will open for business prior to the start of the season. And depending on the manner in which the lockout is resolved, it could open with little notice and in a big hurry.
In light of that, I'm getting our shortlist of free agent desirables ready now. Following are slides of each position the Browns may want to pursue in free agency (WR, RB, OL, DL, LB, S, CB), and a list of players at each position who could be a good fit for the Browns. Note that these are not necessarily the "best" players at each spot, but rather those who are the best combination of (hopefully) realistically attainable and a good fit for the Cleveland system.
Obviously, we won't be able to sign a candidate for each of these positions this season (I'd guess 3-4 players out of the entire list, tops), but it's good to have plenty of options. This list does not include 2010 Browns players currently eligible for free agency or undrafted free agents.
Please share your opinions on any additions you'd like to see included in the next installment of this list in the comments below!