Now that Braylon Edwards Has Been Traded to Jets, are Browns Ready to Take Off?

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IOctober 7, 2009

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 21:  Braylon Edwards #17 of the Cleveland Browns tries to stay warm on the sideline during the second quarter while playing the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium December 21, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

In one of the least surprising moves of the week, Braylon Edwards has been traded to the New York Jets.

I don’t think it’s even surprising who Edwards was traded to. Head coach Eric Mangini seems to have a very good relationship with his former employer, and he’s certainly familiar with the Jets roster.

In return for Edwards, the Browns received wide receiver Chansi Stuckey and linebacker Jason Trusnik. The Browns also received two undisclosed draft picks.

Edwards definitely had worn out his welcome in Cleveland, with his inability to catch a football being the primary reason.

However, his off-field issues seemed to be mounting after the altercation Sunday night outside a Cleveland night club with a club employee, who also just happened to be a friend of Cavs superstar LeBron James.

Note to anyone in Cleveland: Don’t mess with LeBron James or any of his friends. You will lose that battle.

Despite the off-field issues Edwards always seemed to have, his solid-brick hands on the field and his lackadaisical approach to running routes ultimately was what killed his career in Cleveland.

Mangini is not the type of coach who tolerates players who don’t give their all on the field, and as rookie receiver Mohamed Massaquoi caught more passes this past Sunday, it was apparent that Edwards decided to take his ball and go home.

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It should come as no surprise that Derek Anderson stopped looking in Edwards’ direction after the first quarter and the dropped pass that hit him right between the numbers.

Even more damning for Edwards was his attitude toward the other players and fans—because to listen to Edwards was to listen to a man so caught up in his own hype, he refused to admit he could be part of the problem.

He wanted all the benefits of being an NFL player, but never seemed willing to work toward those benefits on the field. It was a classic example of a person's own ego shortcutting the necessary process.

Edwards famously cited his collegiate career in Michigan as the reason Cleveland fans, many of whom also are Ohio State fans, didn’t like him. This accusation didn’t endear him any further with the fan base as it was based in his own narrow view of things.

If he would've caught a few more touchdown passes, trust me, the fans in Cleveland wouldn't have cared if he came from the deepest layers of the abyss.

Ironically, Edwards now will face New York fans and the New York media, who will make Cleveland look like amateurs when it comes to criticism.

There are two questions facing Cleveland right now in this trade:

How will the receivers be ranked?

What kind of draft picks will they receive from the Jets?

Stuckey may very well come to Cleveland and be designated the No. 1 receiver. Massaquoi probably already has earned the No. 2 spot with Joshua Cribbs being focused more on special teams again. After that, it’s a crapshoot.

The draft picks probably are conditional and the reason they are undisclosed right now. With Edwards possibly facing suspension from the league for his altercation, that will play into things.

The safe bet here is that if Edwards hits certain milestones or accelerators, the Browns will receive higher draft picks, say a third and a fourth.

If Edwards is suspended for a few games, or continues to drop just about every ball thrown his way, the Browns probably only get a sixth- and seventh-round pick.

Whatever the Browns get is more than I expected at this point. Given his off-field issues, attitude, and penchant for dropping easy passes, I would’ve been happy to get two cases of beer and an extra set of shoulder pads for him.

I made a joke out of the trade, but the important thing to realize is that Mangini got something out of nothing. Like his mentor, Bill Belichick, Mangini took a player on his way out and got some value out of him.

Anyone who was thinking of jumping on the Fire Mangini Bandwagon, including myself, now has one giant reason (and a few draft picks) to put those brochures down and cancel their reservation.

This was a good, smart move, and Mangini should be applauded for it. Edwards was done in Cleveland, and Mangini was savvy enough to get everything he could out of him.


Side note here because I’m constantly amazed at how fast things can change.

At 8:25 a.m., I began revising my notes and thoughts into a coherent article for publication that focused on why Edwards was bad for Cleveland. I had Edwards’ team page up, his Wikipedia page for reference, and a few other things for fact-checking purposes.

At 9:04 a.m., I received the phone call about the trade, which probably was about 10-15 minutes before I would have hit “publish.”

Going back to the Plain Dealer’s Web site, the trade was reported at 8:29 am, I refreshed his Wikipedia page as soon as I hung up the phone.

It was updated, including the picture of Braylon in Cleveland gear, which now features him signing a collectible at the Pro Bowl in February 2008.


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