We're in the midst of a period in the NFL where the free agent class starts to expand as teams begin releasing a couple of players to clear some cap space. Sure, every team isn't going to release a Stanford Routt just one year into a massive contract, but usually there are a few notable names to go around.
To this point in 2012, the Cleveland Browns have not released any players. One year ago, they did release several veteran players all in one felt swoop: DL Shaun Rogers, DL Kenyon Coleman, TE Robert Royal, LB David Bowens, LB Eric Barton, and OL John St. Clair. Just how important was that group of players? Well, let's just say that the last four players on that list weren't even in football this past season, as far as I can tell.
The moves also symbolized an end to the Eric Mangini era; many of the players on the list above were "his guys." It also hinted that the Browns would be operating in a 4-3 defense instead of the 3-4 defense. The release of Rogers was kind of surprising, because it basically left the Browns with Ahtyba Rubin as their only starting lineman. Rogers' potential spot was replaced with youth in Phil Taylor, the team's first-round draft choice last April.
Rogers quickly found a new team in the New Orleans Saints. He didn't make a splash the first half of the season, but reports indicate that he found his niche as a run stopper toward the end of the year. He is a free agent heading into the offseason, but at least he got to experience a playoff season after so many years of losing with Detroit and Cleveland. The other player who had a decent impact this past season was Coleman. His production took a hit from when he was with Cleveland, but he remained a significant part of Rob Ryan's rotation in Dallas.
Are there any players you think the Browns will outright release in the next couple of days?