Over the past month, the Denver Broncos have signed WR Jordan Norwood, OG Ryan Miller, LB L.J. Fort, and FS Eric Hagg to future contracts. They will not be on the team until March 3, 2014, which is the first day of the new league year. It seems unusual that so many former Browns would be signed to future contracts in one place, until you remember that Tom Heckert is the Director of Player Personnel in Denver.
Heckert was with the Browns in 2010. Under his direction, the Browns:
- Took Hagg in the 7th round of the 2011 NFL Draft
- Took Miller in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft
- Found Fort as an undrafted free agent during the 2012 offseason
- Re-signed Norwood in 2010 after he had a previous stint with Cleveland in 2009
Each of the four players signed by the Broncos were ones that left Cleveland in a disappointing way. Hagg was being developed into a starter before being outright released this past offseason. Miller missed this year's camp with a concussion and did not make the final roster. Fort seemed to have another good camp, but didn't make the final roster.
Norwood is the player I still regret letting go of, especially since it was in favor of Davone Bess. After Bess' troubles started, I actually had hopes that Cleveland would try to sign him up for training camp next year, but Denver struck first. Why isn't Cleveland signing players to future contracts? Oh, that's right -- we're still too busy trying to assemble a coaching staff.