Thursday, March 10, 2016

Browns hit the Silver Sombrero in free agency

I wrote yesterday that I didn't expect the Cleveland Browns to be involved in making big waves in free agency,but I never dreamed that they would be the joke of the league as their Harvard "whiz kids" would sign no one,lose all four of their top free agents and be criticized in how they handled negotiations in one of them...

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Browns had a chance to re-sign the player that I wanted most in tackle Mitchell Schwartz,but when his agents asked about the offer that the Browns had on the table for him as recently as the combine-he was told that the team had pulled their offer.
Schwartz was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs to a five year deal at 6.6 million per year,which was cheaper than expected and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Browns would have likely done a deal with Schwartz at that cost,had they known that is what would have gotten a deal finished.

Alex Mack took a offer for less money reportedly (no word on if the offer was similar in length) to sign a five year deal with the Atlanta Falcons for 9.5 million.
So,this one was not on account of the Browns being cheap,Mack was tired of the losing and questionable management and took a lesser offer.
I can understand the player moving on and I cannot hold it against the Browns because in this case-they clearly tried.

Travis Benjamin signed a four year deal with the San Diego Chargers worth 24 million to be their second receiver and frankly I'm OK with not signing Benjamin at that price.
I wrote yesterday that I don't believe he is a number two receiver and the Chargers paid him as one,so no problems in allowing Benjamin to leave.

The final player to leave was safety Tashaun Gipson,who signed a five year deal with 35 million as the final amount with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The die was cast for Gipson's departure long ago,so this was a matter of landing point not a matter of the Browns keeping him.

The larger problem is the Browns not bringing in anyone to add to the roster on the first day of free agency.
I didn't expect a huge splash,but a ripple would have been nice.
Losing four starters and not signing even one replacement is a solid shot on day one.
I understand and even believe in building through the draft,but you can fill a few holes on your team with free agency,
Let's be real-it's unlikely the Browns are replacing any of these four with equal players as far ability in free agency-at least in the case of the two linemen and yes the Browns will be able add some compensation picks in 2017,at least two of them at the end of the third round in my opinion.
However at this time (repeat at this time),the 3-13 team that finished the season is appreciably worse.

Still,this looks really bad and the Browns would have been better served to go after one player to fill one position from a talent and public relations perspective.
To the outside observer,it looks like different minds in charge-same old Browns.....

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