"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. In today's edition, we talk about a couple of key offseason dates, if there are NFL equivalents to Jeremy Lin, and more.
Starting February 20th, teams can apply the franchise tag to a player on their team. Last year, the Browns applied that tag to kicker Phil Dawson. If Dawson comes back next year, it won't be as a franchise player. I can't really see the Browns using this tag on anyone. It wouldn't make sense to use it on Peyton Hillis, because you'd really be overpaying him for one year. The only potential player might be D'Qwell Jackson, but with the way both Jackson and the front office have been talking, I imagine a long-term deal will get done as soon as possible between those two parties. The final day to declare a franchise player is March 5th.
The NFL Scouting Combine is quickly approaching; I had not even realized that we are just 10 days away from it getting underway in Indianapolis. The Combine will run from February 22nd to February 28th. We only focused on a few players of interest last year here at Dawgs By Nature, but this year we'll try to generate some more discussion to include reactions to some of the measurables and who improved their draft status. The NFL Draft is from April 26th to April 28th.
Here is the big one: free agency kicks off on March 13th at 4:00 PM. Remember, free agency was all-out-of-whack last season due to the lockout. This year, we'll get a traditional offseason in which teams will be able to acquire some free agents before the draft so they don't end up wasting a pick on a position they could have gone the veteran route for. We'll start previewing all of the Browns' free agents in detail in the coming days.
What Jeremy Lin has done for the New York Knicks in basketball is so buzzworthy that I feel compelled to bring it up in relation to football. Exactly how would you compare the sudden impact, part-way through a season, that Lin has had out of no where? Sure, you've had Tom Brady relieving Drew Bledsoe, but Brady didn't light it up his first year in the league. A guy like Victor Cruz came out of no where, but you also need a good quarterback to get the receivers the ball. A comparison to Lin really comes down to the quarterback position, and I can't think of a guy who has matched what he has done. The Browns have fallen victim to "Lin-like-hype" before with the Kelly Holcomb's and Derek Anderson's of the world, but they haven't panned out in the long run.
Here is an article that talks about how close certain active players are to being a lock for the Hall of Fame. There are a ton of players on the list in different categories, but only one of them is a member of the Browns: left tackle Joe Thomas. He falls under the "needs more data" category, which isn't a bad thing -- it means he is under consideration for one of the other categories (so he has passed step one), but is still another five years or so away from actually being placed into one of those groups.