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Around the Pound (3/12): TE Ben Watson Signs, Heiden Cut; Holmgren Comments on QB Situation

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Since the start of free agency, "Around the Pound" was shelved for awhile so that some of the transactions of free agency could have their own dedicated topic. Now that things have slowed down a tiny bit, it's time to bring the feature back and get caught up on some of the loose ends we need to cover.

There's a full plate on tonight's agenda, including the Browns' revamped tight end situation, Mike Holmgren commenting on the state of our quarterbacks, where some of our former free agents have ended up, and more.

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Watson Arrives, Heiden's Legacy With Cleveland Ends

After eight seasons with the Cleveland Browns, veteran TE Steve Heiden won't be back for a ninth one. Heiden was released today, and I really can't imagine many other teams being interested in signing a 33 year old tight end who has battled through injuries the past two seasons. Heiden was one of the longest-tenured member of the Browns, and I think the fans always appreciated him. Even last year, there were times when we were wishing Heiden would see passes go his way as opposed to other receivers on the team.

Taking Heiden's spot on the roster is the team's newest free agent signing -- TE Ben Watson. Watson is certainly an upgrade over any of the tight ends we had on our roster last season. He's not necessarily past his prime either, as he leaves the Patriots after six seasons. Watson has proven before that he can be a 50-catch, 600-yard type of receiver if necessary. He's not a great pass-catching tight end, but if you compare him with Robert Royal, I'm sure Watson would look great in comparison. Better than the fact he can catch is that he's a solid blocker, which is probably as close to a "complete" tight end we could've acquired through free agency.

Right now, we have four tight ends on our roster -- Watson, Evan Moore, Royal, and Michael Gaines. I don't see Royal and Gaines sticking around come the regular season, but both of them could make it to training camp I suppose. In the end, I'm ready to move past Royal. Having Watson and Moore on the field for double tight end sets works for me. Watson's contract was for 3 years and a reported $12 million, including $6.35 million guaranteed.

Holmgren Speaks on Quinn's Status

Quarterback Jake Delhomme left Cleveland without a contract, according to the Plain Dealer. Holmgren still hasn't closed the door on signing Delhomme though. Delhomme might be turned off by the fact that Holmgren would not commit to anyone as a starter in an effort to lure someone to Cleveland.

With respect to Brady Quinn...

Browns President Mike Holmgren said that trade talk for Brady Quinn is "a little premature," but he indicated that Quinn's future with the club depends on acquiring another quarterback.

"It all depends on what else we can do," Holmgren told The Plain Dealer on Friday. "We are continuing to look for and evaluate quarterbacks."

No matter who the Browns bring aboard, Holmgren is still firm on the fact that a starting quarterback will be named before training camp. As to why he's exploring so many options at quarterback?

"But I'm going to kind of set the table, and then it's really Coach (Eric) Mangini's call."

Justin Fargas Visited Cleveland

Since being released by the Raiders, RB Justin Fargas has been making the rounds. After being a pretty good backup for many years with the Raiders, there's no reason he wouldn't be a solid backup or spot-start running back for other teams. He's already met with the Chiefs, Eagles and the Browns, but has yet to sign a contract. If the Browns end up reaching a deal with Fargas, it would seem to follow the type of signings Holmgren has made thus far -- no one who will break the bank, but players who were good role players for other teams.

New Cities for Hadnot and Pool

The Arizona Cardinals signed OL Rex Hadnot to a three-year deal worth about $9 million. S Brodney Pool signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets worth $1.3 million. Hadnot will probably have the opportunity to start in Arizona with Pool competing for a roster spot on the Jets' talented defense.

Around the AFC North

Off-Beat Notes

  • After seeing the performances from American Idol this week, I finally felt that some of the contestants had found their niche and that we'd have a half-way decent top twelve. But then...the results show came, and the people sent home should've have been sent home. All it did was make the Top 12 less competitive, so the one or two guys and girls who have been good now have a near cakewalk to the top four.
  • The reports have begun circulating that "24" might not be picked up for a ninth season by FOX, and that a decision would be announced soon. It's not that "24" is necessarily a cancel-worthy show, but it's become too expensive to make, and, as most shows do in their later seasons, the ratings aren't what they used to be. Rumors are now swirling that if "24" is canceled, that NBC would pick up the show for a ninth season. As long as Kiefer Sutherland remains with the show, I don't care what network airs it.
  • I've just started seeing the previews for Ironman 2; can't wait to see it. I love Robert Downey Jr's portrayal of the character, and the addition of Mickey Rourke to the film has my anticipation peaked.
  • So many good things about last week's LOST, particular because any Michael Emerson-centric episode is interesting. Plus, it's fun to see William Atheron be a peck. The ending sequence was a favorite too, as sort of an homage to earlier seasons, capped off with the "here we go...!" moment of Widmore arriving to the island.
  • Christopher Nolan again indicates that the next installment of Batman will be his last. There are minor spoiler details at the link, so reader beware.