Browns Unsigned Free Agents Need To Choose Team First Over Money

Daniel WolfSenior Writer IMay 13, 2010

CLEVELAND - AUGUST 18:  D'Qwell Jackson #58 of the Cleveland Browns looks on during the pre-season game against the Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns Stadium on August 18, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Lions defeated the Browns 23-20.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
David Maxwell/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns are in the midst of a big-time issue with their restricted free agent class that includes starters: Abram Elam, D'Qwell Jackson, Matt Roth, Jerome Harrison, and Lawrence Vickers.

None of these players seem ready to put team as their first priority over their own personal demands of getting paid more money.

National Football Post writer, Michael Lombardi had a fantastic reference to The Sopranos in his piece regarding the Browns' new front office and their stance on these unsigned players.

These players must feel like they have a sense of entitlement based on what has been promised to them in the past, but with Mike Holmgren in town all bets are off, and once again a player needs to prove himself by going out onto the field and playing his butt off.

Both Jackson and Elam are two that have been vocal to the media saying they want a long-term deal.

Holmgren's best move here is letting all this noise go through one ear and out the other, because he is focused on building a winning team.

If any of these guys want to be a part of this culture Holmgren is trying to build, then they need to sign their one-year deal and play their hearts out in order to let Holmgren know they belong for the long term.

The perfect poster boy for this current scenario is Josh Cribbs.

Cribbs spent the last two seasons putting his money issues aside and played his heart out for the team despite broken promises to pay him more money by previous regimes.

He may have been a bit to voccal about his discontent toward the Browns not paying him more, but when the season came around, he put that aside and look where that got him.

Rewarded by Holmgren this year, Cribbs finally got paid after putting team first.

All these unsigned players need to take a second and not only look at what Cribbs had to deal with the past two seasons, playing for next to nothing, but how he put team first and was rewarded for it in the end.

The Browns need to be a team and the "me-first" players need to be set aside, just as what is happening right now with these players who are unsigned.

Also, these players also need to take this into consideration. The Browns brought in Chris Gocong, Scott Fujita, Montario Hardesty, Peyton Hillis, and two rookie safeties.

Each of these players play the same position that each of the unsigned players do too.



Looks like the message Holmgren is sending is that, "if you do not sign, then I do not need you because I have already brought on others to play your position for you."

Do we, as fans, want all of these players on the same roster?

Of course, but we cannot force them to resign and put team first to play another year to get that long-term deal they so desire.

A message to those unsigned players.

Set aside your financial differences (as Cribbs has done) and show Holmgren, the rest of the team, and the fans that you want to be in Cleveland wearing the orange and brown.

Do you really want miss on a chance on rebuilding something magical once again in Cleveland?

Take a look in the mirror and answer that question honestly.


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