After signing Jamal Lewis to be our starting running back on Wednesday, the Browns were able to ship former starter Reuben Droughns to the New York Giants in exchange for wide receiver Tim Carter. With Droughns and Lewis both being bigger type of backs, the chances of keeping both of them on the roster weren't very good. If the Browns would not have been able to trade Droughns, they would have cut him by next week to remove the possibility of paying him a $1.75 million roster bonus.
So, what do the Browns get out of the trade with Carter? We are getting a guy that is similar to what Dennis Northcutt was supposed to be, except he's never really received a lot of playing time. Last year was actually his busiest season, playing in all 16 games as he caught 22 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. And, although Carter did not return any punts during his career with the Giants, he is the type of player that would most certainly be a candidate to fill the void left by Northcutt. Carter was actually a second-round draft pick back in 2002 for the Giants. In terms of being a receiver for the Browns, I hope that Romeo Crennel does not push Travis Wilson behind Carter on the depth chart. That would be completely counterproductive.
In a move that had to be expected after negative health reports to close the season, the Browns decided to terminate the contract of cornerback Daylon McCutcheon. McCutcheon had microfracture knee surgery last season, causing him to miss the entire season. There were hopes that he would be able to return this year, but apparently it wasn't meant to be. McCutcheon was one of two people left from the original 1999 Cleveland Browns team. Phil Dawson is now our only remaining player from that wonderful team.
And, finally, the Browns signed Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Shaun Smith to an offer sheet today. Smith is a restricted free agent, meaning the Bengals will have seven days to match whatever offer we gave him. Smith, at 6-2 and 325 pounds, was originally an undrafted free agent in 2003 with the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints. According to some sources, the Browns are envisioning him as their future nose tackle to replace Ted Washington. That seems kind of unusual considering he has hardly played in the NFL, but I can't speak without seeing what he has to offer.
In the end, it's been another very active year of free agency for the Browns under the Phil Savage era, and we can only hope that the results turn out better than this past season.