Over at the Grantland blog (where Bill Simmons is editor-in-chief), an article was published titled, "The 25 Least Valuable Players in the NFL." Four players still in the league with affiliations to the Cleveland Browns had the honor of being put on that list. In fact, the top two players on the list were members of the Browns. Can you guess who they were?
Let's start off with the non-Browns on the list. Coming in at No. 17 was offensive tackle John St. Clair, and coming in at No. 12 was quarterback Derek Anderson. St. Clair couldn't block to save his life at times, and Anderson failed to even come close to becoming the second coming of Kurt Warner.
St. Clair's appeal has been as a utility lineman, but teams have mistaken his willingness to play tackle for ability. It was St. Clair who launched Elvis Dumervil's career into orbit with a four-sack game in Week 2 of the 2009 season.
Anderson's career rests on a few good games against terrible opposition in 2007, and the only guy with a lower completion percentage over the past five years is JaMarcus Russell.
So, which two players at the top of the list were also members of the Browns? That would be safety Sabby Piscitelli and quarterback Jake Delhomme, for reasons outlined below:
After a dismal 2009, Piscitelli responded to losing his job in camp by all-but-invoking "Operation Shutdown"; he got back into the lineup after rookie Cody Grimm broke his ankle, promptly gave up a touchdown after biting on a run fake, and got cut anyway. His unique mix of blown tackles, dreadful instincts, and inflated ego really make him the worst player to see regular time in the NFL over the past several years.
…But he wasn't making $19.7 million at the time. Thanks to somehow-employed Panthers GM Marty Hurney forgetting to stick offset language in Delhomme's contract, the Panthers and Browns combined to pay Delhomme nearly $20 million last season. The Panthers were probably better off than the Browns, since they didn’t have to line up Delhomme at quarterback for five games. The permanently shell-shocked passer threw an interception every 21.2 attempts, converted just 27.5 percent of the third downs he faced, and put up one of the most awe-inspiring terrible lines of the 2010 season by going 12-of-20 for 86 yards and an interception against the Bills in Week 14. His existence as a highly paid quarterback would make more sense only if he was the walking, breathing example of the players’ case against the owners in the lockout.
Piscitelli's assessment doesn't reflect his time in Cleveland, and he probably won't be retained. Neither will Delhomme in all likelihood. That means heading into next year, the Browns shall have ridden themselves from being named on this list!