The Josh Cribbs Holdout: What the Browns Can Do if No One Gives In

Cory HolibaughCorrespondent IMay 23, 2009

CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 23:  Joshua Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns carries the ball during the NFL game against the Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 23, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The latest from Bureau is that Josh Cribbs is holding out for a new contract. This is just one more thing Eric Mangini has to deal with this offseason.

First, it was Shaun Rogers complaining about Mangini not "noticing" him (apparently twice). Then it was (some) fans being upset that Kellen Winslow Jr. was traded. From there, it was the Brady Quinn and Braylon Edwards trade rumors.

Mangini kept both of the players, despite some very nice trade offers.

Now Cribbs is holding out, and possibly even kicker Phil Dawson.

Mangini never gave in when Rogers complained, never second-guessed himself in trading K2, and stuck to his guns by trying to maximize offers for Quinn/Edwards before considering. I don't see him giving into Cribbs' demands.

So it is on Cribbs to make a decision. He can either continue to hold out or return to the team. If he returns, he could look for a new contract after one season under Mangini.

If Cribbs returns, everything in this drama is over, but if he doesn't, Mangini could look to trade Cribbs. What exactly could the Browns get for Cribbs?

Before I get into that, take this into consideration: Cribbs is very versatile and would bring a lot to any team.

He is probably the best special teams player out there, could play the wildcat formation very well, and, of course, is a receiver. His role is very underrated, but any team would love to have him.

So with that in mind, what could Cribbs get?

A first-round pick seems too much, but a second-round pick isn't out of the question. The Browns might even be able to get a player in a trade, say a cornerback or linebacker.

It's hard to evaluate what Cribbs is worth, considering he isn't a one-position player or a pure starter, besides special teams, so there isn't really much else to say.

If Cribbs was traded, what would the Browns look like? Who would return kicks for the team? Could the Browns still manage some wildcat plays?

Without Cribbs, the favorite to return kicks could have to be Syndric Steptoe. Last season he had three kick returns for 61 yards, two of which were over 20 yards. He also had two punt returns for 23 yards (his long being 14 yards). 

On the defensive side of special teams, there are many players who could make tackles instead of Cribbs. The rookies Kaluka Maiava, Don Carey, and Coye Francies are very capable.

One very good thing Cribbs brought to the Browns was wildcat plays. If Cribbs wasn't handling them, the Browns have some players that could—Steptoe, rookie Jordan Norwood, etc. Of course, none of them are (ex-)quarterbacks, but they could work.

Mangini intended to use Cribbs on the defensive side of the ball, but, since Cribbs has never played there is the NFL, there isn't anything to replace. They have their starters and their depth.

To be honest, the Browns aren't losing a whole lot if Cribbs left. The biggest thing lost in him is his dynamic special teams play.

So should Mangini trade Cribbs or should he wait for Cribbs to make a decision? That is Mangini to decide. Let's all just hope it works out in the Browns' favor.


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