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Reflecting Back on Zastudil & Shaffer

Here is an interesting note made by Peter King the other day regarding the Browns' spending in free agency:

It's been years since I've seen money burn a hole in a team's pocket like I saw with Cleveland this year.

Here's the stat you need to know: LeCharles Bentley and Kevin Shaffer, signed to beef up the Browns' offensive line at center and tackle, respectively, will be paid a combined $20.5 million this season in salary and bonus money. That number just about leaves me speechless. And they made Dave Zastudil a $1.6 million-a-year punter -- although Zastudil over the past two seasons, punting in Baltimore, was 26th and 12th in punting average. I like Phil Savage and I think he's a smart football man. For the sake of some of the greatest fans in the history of any sport, I hope Savage knows what he's doing.
- Peter King, SI

Did we spend too much on Bentley and Shaffer? Let's step aside for a moment and ask ourselves something. When was the last time the Browns were able to actually sign a big-name player in free agency? I don't think we've signed any for years. It's going to take a lot of money to make sure we snag someone as soon as possible. If we offered both Bentley and Shaffer lower numbers, then other teams would have offered something higher, and we would have been out of the running.

Was Zastudil's signing too much? I don't care if his average is 26th and 12th - Browns fans know how miserable our punting situation has been since Chris Gardocki left. Derrick Frost was a fan favorite somewhat (especially those Frosted Flakes), but we will never forget the 7-yard shanker against the Ravens. Then, last year with Richardson, there were several games where a punt would only travel twenty yards. If spending $1.6 million keeps us from worrying about the punter in the clutch, then it is definitely well worth it.