ESPN Insider just published an article that listed the first post-lockout moves that each of the 32 teams in the NFL should make. Before I could even scroll down to the Browns on the list, a name jumped out at me for the Baltimore Ravens: LB Matt Roth.
Baltimore Ravens -- Sign OLB Matt Roth
In the 2011 draft, the Ravens did not address a pass rush that ranked 27th in adjusted sack rate in 2010. Roth, a free-agent outside linebacker, recorded just 3.5 sacks last season but, according to our game charters, posted 24.5 QB hurries, a sign that he could be the pass-rushing answer opposite Terrell Suggs.
What did ESPN list as the most desirable first move for the Browns following the lockout? It would be signing a player who many of us have been interested in this offseason.
Cleveland Browns -- Sign DE Ray Edwards
As they convert to a 4-3 system under Dick Jauron, the Browns added a pair of defensive linemen (Phillip Taylor, Jabaal Sheard) with their first two picks in the 2011 NFL draft. That overhaul should continue in free agency, with Cleveland having the need and, after releasing a handful of expensive veterans, the means to go after free-agent defensive end Edwards, who is looking for a big-money deal this offseason.
We'll see if Tom Heckert and company are able to make it happen. Getting a starting safety is probably a higher priority in my book, but if we survived with a player who wasn't a "stud" in the past (Abram Elam), then maybe the front office will stick with addressing the defensive line first, just like they did at the draft in April.