Now that Brady Quinn is out for the season I decided to look at what the Browns offense needed to change this offseason. It started out a lot smaller but kind of took off on me. I will try and do a defense look in the next couple of days if everyone would like.
Quarterback; The Browns are very young at QB. Changes will be made at this position this offseason.
Derek Anderson (2008 Salary; 8 million) 25 Years Old; I think we all agree that Derek Anderson will be traded this offseason. If Matt Schuab and A.J Feely can get draft picks in return, Derek should be able to get the Browns at least a 3rd, maybe a low 2nd. We all should be pulling for the "Good D.A" to show up these last couple of games.
Brady Quinn (4.3 Million (Still getting bonus money)) 24 Years Old; The Browns have to let Brady Quinn take control of this team. His benching last week was one of the worst coaching moves I can remember. It served the future of the Cleveland Browns no help what so ever. If it makes anyone feel any better, I believe it was the final nail in Romeo's coffin. I fully expect Brady to be next years starter no questions asked.
Ken Dorsey (785 K) 27 Years Old; This is a steal. Ken Dorsey has been Brady's mentor since he has gotten here in Cleveland. A third QB is almost never called upon in a game. And if he is, your probably screwed anyways. I think it is a near lock that Dorsey will be back in Cleveland unless the new management drafts a young QB.
Free Agency help; Rex Grossman, Kyle Boller, or J.P Losman. These guys have some starting experience and would know from day one that they are back-ups. Would probably come on the cheap and would be a better insurance policy than say a Brad Johnson.
Draft help; Before anyone says why should we draft a young QB when we have a young QB ready to take over, this is what good teams do. Young QB's are always a wanted commodity in this league. Just because a team drafts and develops a young QB doesn't mean that team has to play him. We can call this the Matt Schuab effect. The Browns can look for a guy late with big upside. Curtis Painter, Dan LeFevour, and a wildcard Rhett Bomar. A kid that was the top HS QB but was kicked out of Oklahoma for accepting payments for a job he did not attend. He has all the tools and has put up good numbers at Sam Houston State. These guys would all be around in the 5-6 round range.
Prediction; The Browns will try and sign a veteran QB for low money and then draft a young QB and keep him as the "emergency QB". Ken Dorsey retires and starts his career as a QB coach.
Running Backs; A position that needs to be looked at this offseason. You could even make an argument for a major overhaul.
Jamal Lewis; (6.5 Million) 29 YO I have already made my case for Jamal Lewis being benched. He has looked slow and uninterested and a major waste of money. If I were the GM I would cut Jamal Lewis this offseason. He doesn't even interest me as a goal line power back anymore. We all know what happens to a RB when they hit 30. And this one sucks now.
Jerome Harrison (449 K) 25 YO. I think the future is bright with this kid. He is explosive and is always making plays for this team when given the chance. He is still cheap and young. I think that he will have a much bigger role in the offense with a new coaching staff. A game changer.
Jason Wright (933 K) 26 YO. I would not be surprised to see Jason Wright in another uniform next year. He does nothing well and nothing poorly. A decent number three RB, nothing more. Is supposed to be the third down back on this team, yet has brought nothing to the table this year. 12 carries and 8 catches for the season.
Free Agency Help; There is not much help at this position this offseason. I like Fred Jackson from Buffalo but he is Restricted Free Agent so it remains to see how high the price would be. I assume that the Bills would place an offer to Jackson and I don’t think any team will be willing to give up a draft pick for Fred Jackson. Other than that Ricky Williams is listed as a FA, as is Maurice Morris. None of those guys seem like an upgrade over Jamal, so like I said not much help in the FA pool.
Draft Help; Here is where the Browns can get healthy. Look around the league this year and see how many rookie RB’s are making a difference. Steve Slaton, Ray Rice, Matt Forte, Felix Jones (before he got hurt), among others. By the way, out of those players, only Felix Jones was taken in the first round. The NFL has shown that productive runners can be found late in the draft. For as much as I love Chris "Beanie" Wells, I would pretty upset if the Browns take him in the top 10. The kid I love is LeSean McCoy from Pittsburgh. He doesn’t have the size of Wells (who does?) but has a huge upside. He is explosive and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Could possibly be there in the early second round. Others I like in the 2-3 round range; C.J Spiller, Clemson, has amazing open field moves and can also catch, although he is undersized. James Davis, Clemson, is the hammer back and has no problem running between the tackles yet has the speed to take it the distance. Other guys to keep an eye on, Keiland Williams and Charles Scott LSU, DeMarco Murray Oklahoma and Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern. I like Javon Ringer as much as everyone else, but Michigan State is running him ragged. I worry about his workload at such a young age. Could break down well before the magic 30 YO barrier.
Prediction; The Browns look to the draft for help at this position, but not in the first round. I think the draft is very strong at other positions and will push a very good RB down to the second round. The Browns will make a value pick that also makes a ton of sense in the second round. Could be the starter from day one like a Matt Forte if he is well rounded.
Full Back; A position that is supposed to be a dying breed in the NFL, yet the Browns are stacked.
Lawrence Vickers (447 K) 25 YO. I love this kid. I think he is very under rated as a blocker and has decent hands. Should have gone to the Pro Bowl two years ago. Has been hurt some this year and the running game has not been as good as last year. He is also able to used as a hot read for the QB and can run over smaller defenders. Will be back.
Charles Ali (475 K) 24 YO. Was kind of a surprise addition to this roster at the start of the year and has proven to be a valuable addition to this team. Has filled in for Vickers when he has been hurt and is a very good blocker. Showed decent hands in the MNF win over the Bills catching a slant that made Braylon Edwards jealous. I expect the Browns to bring both back unless the new coaching staff decides to install a different offense.
Free Agency/Draft Help; The Browns will not be looking to add anything to FB.
Prediction; Vickers and Ali will both be back.
Wide Receiver; A position that the Browns thought would be a strength has been one of the most disappointing units in all of the NFL.
Braylon Edwards; (5.45 Mil) 25 YO. Where to start? The drops? The lack of concentration? He has been the most frustrating part of this team in my opinion. He has the tools to be the most dominant WR in the NFL. He can run, jump and RAC with the best of them. I think he does have rabbit ears though. The first sign of bad news or boos, he seems to try to make the amazing play often forgetting to catch the ball. That being said, I think that Braylon will have a big year next year. The QB position will be settled from day one, and he will have a clean slate. Maybe I am being naïve, but I think that BE will once again be a dangerous game changer in 2009.
Donte Stallworth; (5.15 Mil) 28 YO. A monumental waste of money. I am not being overly negative here either. In March of 2009, Stallworth is due a roster bonus of 4.875 Million dollars. In other words, last year Donte Stallworth signed a one year contract with the Browns with a t 4.875 Million dollar team option. I would be shocked if the Browns kept him at that price. He may re-do his deal to stay here in Cleveland, but I wouldn’t count on it. I am guess he is cut with a small cap penalty in the 200K range. Cutting Stallworth would free up close to 5 million dollars in cap room.
Joe Jurevicious; (FA) 33 YO. Joe will be a FA at the end of the season and has said he would love to come back for one final season. I think the Browns will bring him back at the vets minimum. Good guy to have around.
Josh Cribbs; (645 K) 25 YO. Has proven that he is a steal at that price and may want to re-do his deal this offseason. I think the Browns will keep him around. He did not have the breakout season I envisioned for him at the WR position. He has been hampered all year by the early high ankle sprain. He has not shown the same burst from last year. Still one of the best ST players in the world. Will be back.
Syndric Steptoe; (300 K) 23 YO. Was thrust into the starting lineup this year with the injuries suffered in the WR department, and he did nothing. Other than a long catch and run against the Jaguars, he did nothing. Don’t see him back.
Steve Sanders; (295 K) 25 YO. A practice squad player. He is cheap and young. Other than that I don’t have much.
Free Agency Help; Houshmandzadeh will be tagged and Colston will either be tagged with the highest tender possible or re-signed. Other than that the only two names I see that is of any interest would be Bobby Engram, yes the same Bobby Engram that is old and was hurt this year, and Lance Moore who is really playing well this year in New Orleans and would look nice next to BE.
Draft help; Michael Crabtree is not human. At 6-3 and 210 he is the same size as Braylon Edwards. I think he will go top 10 so the Browns may not have a chance to take him. Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin are both small, but very QUICK WR’s in the Steve Smith mold. Both are electric with the ball in their hands. Think of Ted Ginn with more experience catching the ball (Ginn was a CB in HS). Both would be risky picks but could pay off. Later on in the draft 2-5 rounds range are Brian Robiskie of tOSU, Pat White of WVU, a kid I love is Mike Jones at ASU pro style offense and has been very good, and Jaison Williams of Oregon is HUGE 6-5 240. Think Vincent Jackson.
Prediction; I think the Browns cut Stallworth and Sanders and look for a big-time replacement. Could it be a Chad Johnson, if he is cut? They won’t trade for him. There are always quality WRs on the market after teams make cuts, but the Browns do need to look forward and see if they can groom a young dynamic WR to play on the other side of BE. If not the first round, maybe they go after a FA, like a Lance Moore and take a flier on a Videl Hazelton from USC late in the draft. A kid with a ton of potential, who just couldn’t get on the field at USC. Look for a young WR and a veteran WR to be added to the roster next year.
Tightends; Maybe the deepest position on the whole team.
Kellen Winslow; (5.6 Mil) 25 YO How is K2 still only 25 years old? I know there are some out there that say the Browns would be better without Kellen. I think those people are crazy. 100 catch TE’s that are walking mis-matches on defense are not just growing on trees. Is he a loudmouth at times? Yes. But he is also the most money player on the offense? Hell Yes. You build around players like K2 not ship them off. As long as he is not demanding a huge new contract, the Browns will be fine with him. If he is demanding a new deal, then the Browns can look at a deal. But they will not receive equal value for a player like Kellen.
Steve Heiden; (1.95 Mil) 32 YO How many teams in the NFL pay their top two TE’s a combined 7.5 million dollars? Heiden is a very good back-up TE. He does all the small things that this team asks of him and more. He doesn’t bitch and he always seems to get the first down. That said, he is older and has a hot-shot rookie on his heels. The saving grace may be that he and Rucker don’t play the same game.
Darnell Dinkins; (FA) 31 YO Simple a ST player and a blocker. Was kind of surprised he made the team this year and the same can be said for next year. Will be a FA at the end of the year.
Martin Rucker; (771 K) 23 YO I have never been so excited about a player taken in the third round before. If you watched this kid at Mizzou you know what I am talking about. He is a cheap version of Dustin Keller. Keller has more speed but I liked Ruckers hands better. He is a decent blocker but the passing game is where he makes his name. Once he gets going in this offense, you will be happy that you waited for him. I really think that he can make a huge impact on this offense next year.
Free Agency/Draft Help; None. The Browns will not be looking for TE
Offensive Tackles; A Hall-of-Famer, a worthless back-up, one with a bad knee/hip/lower body, and one who forgets to block at times.
Joe Thomas; (8.8 Mil) 23 YO. Just a bad ass. I know he has not been a good as he was last year, but he has been missing his partner Eric Steinbach for a couple of games which doesn’t help. He will be back and at Honolulu next year.
Kevin Shaffer; (3.3 Mil) 28 YO. Has been unsteady to say the least. He is better run blocker than pass blocker. He seems to struggle with teams that employ two speed rushers, like he will see against Indy this weekend. He is affordable at 3.3 million, which may just end up saving his job.
Isaac Sowells; (451 K) 26 YO. This guy has been a waste of a roster space since he was drafted. I will crap myself if he is back with this team next year. Then again, I said the same thing last year.
Ryan Tucker (3.6 Mil) 33 YO. I love Tuck. He has been a rock for this franchise. He is a MONSTER at RG, but he has not been able to stay healthy. I think the Browns will have to cut Tucker this offseason, or bring him back at a much lower salary. I think Tucker would like to stay, he has said nothing but good things about the Browns franchise the past two years, and he may feel like he owes it to the franchise.
Free Agency Help; There are some nice names, Tra Thomas, Mark Tauscher, Jon Runyan and Marc Columbo for example. But those guys are all old and I am not sure that they are a step above Kevin Shaffer. I guy I would like to look at is George Foster. Was a starter in Denver then went into Shanahan’s dog house and was shipped to Detroit where he currently is and would be a nice cheap back-up that has starting experience. Something that Sowells doesn’t have.
Draft Help; The draft is very deep with young athletic tackles. Don’t be surprised to see three go in the top 8-10 picks. The Browns won’t be looking for one that early. But if one is around in say the third round, I think the Browns will jump at the chance. The guy I am looking at is Phil Loadholt from Oklahoma. He is gigantic. At 6-8 350 he would be maybe the biggest player in the NFL. I think he would be a great RT/RG and would be a man to run behind for the next 7 years. Also I like Eric VandenHeuval is a very good run blocker.
Prediction; The Browns bring back Tucker at a reduced salary, and cut Sowells. They then draft a young guy in the mid-rounds to groom to take over from Shaffer in a year or two. Tucker competes with Shaffer at RT and could see time at RG if he is healthy. They pass on everyone in Free Agency.
Offensive Guards; A bad-ass, an oft-inured journeyman, a mis-cast center and roster filler.
Eric Steinbech; (7.6 Mil) 28 YO. Outside of Joe Thomas this guy is the most important OL on the Browns. You could make an argument the Steinbach is more important because of the leadership and Thomas seems to lean on him for advice and blitz help. As long as he can stay healthy Steinbach has a long future ahead with the Browns.
Rex Hadnot; (3.95 Mil) 26 YO. I think Rex is a very good interior lineman. He can play Center or Guard. He has 65 career starts going into this weekend at the age of 26. That is real nice. I can see the Browns signing another guard this offseason and moving Hadnot to center or keeping him at guard. Either way, he needs to find a home at one of these spots and stay there because I think he has a real chance to grow and be a beast. Very strong.
Seth McKinney; (FA) 29 YO. I think that McKinney is nothing more than a back-up A nice back-up, but still a second string type of guy. He is a free agent this offseason. If he wants to come back for the same price I am sure the Browns would welcome it. Maybe he still fancies himself a starter. If he does, he won’t be back in Cleveland.
Scott Young (526 K) 27 YO/Lennie Friedman (773 K) 32 YO. I am putting these two guys together because I view them as the same player. Friedman was a nice blocker on ST, but other than that has done nothing of interest. Young hasn’t seen the field unless I am forgetting something. Both could be gone if younger, cheaper alternatives can be found.
Free Agency Help; The Browns will be looking for a back-up. The only name that looks remotely interesting is Richie Incognito and he will probably want to start. Look for the Browns to re-sign McKinney.
Draft Help; Once again, I doubt the Browns will be looking guard early, but should be looking mid-to-late rounds much like the tackles. Maybe steal a guy late and develop him to replace Hadnot when he moves to center in a year or so. Guys I like are Anthony Parker from Tennessee has been a bright spot for a bad team. I like Herman Johnson from LSU but he should be gone by the time the Browns will be looking at OG. Also Wisconsin has a nice duo at guard with Andy Kemp and Kraig Urbik. Both could be Browns late in the draft.
Prediction; The Browns will keep McKinney and draft a youngster to play ST and learn from Eric Steinbach. Unless a big name Guard is cut, I would look for the Browns to go into next year with Steinbach on the left and Tucker and Hadnot battling it out at RG.
Center; A position that could use some change.
Hank Fraley; (1.6 Mil) 31 YO I think that Fraley is done as a good center. He is a captain so I know that the Browns front office an coaching staff see him as a leader. I am not so sure that the new coaching staff will think the same thing. He still has two years left on his four deal and is not that expensive. If the Browns don’t think they can find a better C on the market, they will keep him. The wildcard here is if the Browns believe like I do that Rex Hadnot is a better Center at this point in time than Fraley. They could then replace Fraley with a center or a guard. Possible, yes, but I believe Fraley will be back with the Browns for one more year.
Free Agency Help; None. Unless someone gets cut there isn’t a decent center on the market.
Draft Help; Centers are not usually known for going high in the draft, but Alex Mack from California could change that. He could go in the top 15-20 picks. I also like Antoine Caldwell. He is a little small but has a ton of experience and is a very smart player. Eric Wood from Louisville was All-BigEast last year and will repeat this year. Big strong kid that could drop to the 5-6th round.
Prediction; If the Browns find a young Guard and Tackle in the draft, I doubt the will also draft a Center. After all the young Guard could push Hadnot to Center. I am willing to bet the Browns add a young Guard and consider Hadnot the back-up center. Ryan Pontbriand is still listed a center, but is nothing more than the best long-snapper in the NFL.