NFL Trade Rumors: What's Next for the Cleveland Browns?

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IApril 12, 2010

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 11:  D'Qwell Jackson #52 of the Cleveland Browns lines up in his defensive position during their NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 11, 2009 in Orchard Park, New York. The Browns defeated the Bills 6-3. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

With the deadline for signing restricted free agents coming this Thursday, the Cleveland Browns still have five players hanging out there.

The five players—Abram Elam, D’Qwell Jackson, Matt Roth, Jerome Harrison, and Lawrence Vickers—still have not signed their free agent tenders.

All players were offered second-round tenders, meaning if another team tries to sign them before the April 15 deadline, they must compensate the Browns with a second-round pick.

Of the players on the list, Jackson has expressed the most anger and frustration with his contract situation.

Just prior to Jackson receiving his second-round tender, he let it be known he thought he was worth a much higher contract.

Should Jackson, or any of the other players, not sign their tenders by the deadline, their rights revert back to Cleveland and the process of working out a new deal pretty much starts over.

Looking over what team president Mike Holmgren has said, done, and who the team has taken closer looks at, it can be inferred that the Browns really do want another second-round pick, even if that means one of these players has to go.

Given Jackson hasn’t found a taker for his services elsewhere in the league at the second-round tender level, this puts the Browns front office in a very good negotiating position should Jackson decide to stay.

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But it also gives the Browns a trade opportunity by allowing them to package another player, or a draft pick, with Jackson to get back into the second round.

There has been a lot of speculation the Browns will try and trade back up into the second round in order to grab a quarterback. With the amount of draft picks the Browns have, plus the willingness to overturn the roster, this isn’t a far-fetched theory.

Elam is just about the only player in the Browns defensive secondary the team wants to see return, so it’s doubtful he’ll be offered in a package, but don’t count it out either.

Harrison and Vickers performed relatively well in the backfield last season, and Harrison broke out with Pro Bowl-caliber performances the last four games of the season. It’s safe to say Holmgren and GM Tom Heckert probably want to keep those guys as well.

That leaves Roth, who was acquired via waivers from the Dolphins last year and performed well on the defensive line.

Mangini should want this guy back, but in the eyes of the new front office, Roth, like Kamerion Wimbley before him, could just end up being trade bait for the future.

And the offseason drama continues . . .

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