You have to love it when key players are locked up. We finally had a running back crack the 1,000 yard plateau, and instead of casting that aside, we rewarded him. The Browns signed RB Reuben Droughns to a three-year contract extension on Friday.
Although Droughns ran the ball very well this year(how could you complain about the first running back to go over 1,000 in twenty years for us?), I think it's still clear that we will have to pursue a third-down back in free agency. I am still a huge Lee Suggs fan, but if we rely on him again, we'll probably be right back to using Droughns on third-down after he goes down with an injury.
"We are anxious to give him the opportunity to have a focused offseason where he can emerge as a leader on offense."
-Browns GM Phil Savage
It's good to say management continue to reward people who perform on the field with a contract extension. Andra Davis, Leigh Bodden, Orpheus Roye, and Droughns were definitely part of the group of players that are NFL-starting caliber players that we are looking for. If I'm a free agent, I'd be impressed that the Browns' management is being true to their word.
Droughns was sort of experiment last year. All Denver running backs run for over 1,000 yards because of their offensive line and the system they have in place. Should the Browns have pursued a big-name like Shaun Alexander, Edgerrin James, or Jamal Lewis? I'd love to have Alexander or James, but how much of a difference would they have made that Droughns couldn't manage? Keeping Droughns at an affordable price will allow us to work towards positions that we actually need in free agency, like defensive linemen and linebackers.