Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was down in New Orleans Friday morning, preparing for his first Super Bowl festivities as an NFL owner. Several members of the local media were able to interview him, and Haslam talked about the team's approach to free agency:
"The coaches, Mike [Lombardi], Joe [Banner], and our entire team are looking over the current crop of free agents, and they're studying and we have a pretty good feel for what our needs are. They're going to look at free agency and we're going to look at the draft, and I think we'll be selective in what we do in free agency, but if there's some talent out there that matches our needs and it's at the right dollar level, then I think we'll probably make some moves. I don't think you'll see us making any big splashy, high-priced moves because I think we've said all along we're going to build through the draft.''
Normally, I wouldn't read much into what a team says regarding free agency, as it can be considered your typical coach-speak. However, Haslam is the person who indicated that the Browns would be very aggressive in getting the best candidate when they were looking for a replacement for Pat Shurmur. My assumption was that the Browns, under Haslam, would be poised to make a "splashy, high-priced move." Either way, with Cleveland set to have about $48.9 million in cap space, they have to spend a pretty high amount this offseason, whether that is via a multitude of players, or one "high-priced move" and a couple of other contributors.
When pressed about the large amount of money Cleveland will have to spend, Haslam backtracked a little bit on his previous statement:
“I think it’s probably premature for me to say anything,” Haslam said. “Our new group’s been in place two or three weeks, and they’re going through. I guess it was two weeks ago today that we announced Mike, and Mike’s been working 24/7, studying, watching a lot of tape. I think we’ll have a meeting in a couple of weeks and have our second meeting on free agency and they’ll give us their ideas on who’s out there at what position.”
We'll have all of your free agency coverage related to the Browns following the Super Bowl, so stay tuned to Dawgs By Nature!