Bridgewater, Browns and those pre-draft deceptions

Take a moment out of your busy day and do a Google search. Use the search terms "Teddy Bridgewater, private workouts" and, depending on when you do the search, you'll probably come up with something interesting. I came up with lots of results saying he worked out for "several" teams and that his performances in these workouts were "shaky."

But is this accurate? In the myriad of pre-draft deceptions, it's possible this may be one of the most audacious seen thus far. And considering who has the most to benefit from it, I'd say the Cleveland Browns could be at the heart of it.

Considering he's been in charge of the Browns' personnel moves since only Feb. 11 when he was hired as GM, we don't know a lot about Ray Farmer or how what he will do in this draft. That's a weapon he can use only once.

However, we have quickly learned that Farmer is aggressive and smart. Few NFL GMs were as aggressive as him during this free agency period. The newly hired Farmer didn't dip a toe to test the free agency waters in the days following his hiring. Instead, he jumped right in with both feet signing pro-bowlers LB Karlos Dansby and S Donte Whitner, as well as shifty WR Andrew Hawkins and top-ranked free agent RB Ben Tate.

His smartest move this offseason thus far was applying the transition tag to pro-bowl center Alex Mack. Had he applied the franchise tag, the Browns would have been able to guarantee keeping him for only one year and at a price based on all top offensive linemen, not just centers, or $11.126 million. Instead, they got to keep Mack for at least two years and possibly five at $10 million the first year and $8 million in each of the remaining years.

Farmer's off-season hasn't been perfect. He swung and missed at signing a #2 cornerback to compete with a much-improved Buster Skrine and to complement pro-bowler Joe Haden. And several of his free-agent signings are older or injury-prone.

But it's possible he may be at the root of one of the best draft deceptions, with life-imitating-art that coincided with the April 11 release of the movie Draft Day.

In this real-life drama, as your Google search should have revealed by now, is that Louisville QB Bridgewater has had several private workouts with NFL teams and that they didn't go well. The source of that information appears to be ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen.

In the articles generated by the Google search, none of the "several teams" were named. But after searching for a while, it turns out Bridgewater's agent Kennard McGuire admitted his client had worked out privately for only one team. One. That's quite an admission from an agent whose job is to create demand, or at least the appearance of demand for his client.

So which team did Bridgewater work out for? Your Cleveland Browns.....



According to McGuire, the team Bridgewater worked out for said his client's performance was "simply amazing and sharp."

A few questions emerge from all this. Who is spreading information to the media that Bridgewater has had "shaky" workouts? Why is the media reporting this without first getting a comment from Bridgewater or his agent -- or at least saying they tried? A natural response is that the fix is in; that some reporters or their employers are getting paid by teams or agents to disseminate false information. Or are they just not following basic journalistic responsibilities by not getting an opposing view(s) before publishing their articles?

And, of course, the question all Browns fans are probably asking is, who benefits from causing Bridgewater to fall in the draft? Surely the Browns benefit, with some publications speculating Bridgewater could fall as far as the 26th pick overall -- where the Browns have their second first-round selection. If the Browns are one of, if not the only team who worked out Bridgewater, then should we assume that the Browns are behind this apparent deception to cause Bridgewater to fall in the draft?

Maybe. After all, sometimes life does imitate art.

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