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Browns still offer intrigue, starting with free agency

I know a lot of Cleveland Browns fans were incredibly disappointed to find out they wouldn't be seeing Robert Griffin III in a Browns uniform. Either that, or you doubted RG3 and preferred Colt McCoy. The majority sentiment around here favored the former. The news that the Washington Redskins traded away three first round picks and a second for the No. 2 pick hit pretty hard. The primary reason for that seemed to be not so much that Browns weren't willing to outbid the Redskins with four or five first round picks or whatever it may have taken, but rather that it meant that the Browns were possibly once against stuck with a second rate quarterback. (In fact, later we found out there was no bidding war.) After the initial outburst, the news was sobering, at least with regards to what we might look forward to with this Browns offense.

Well, I'm here to say the Browns still offer a lot of intrigue across the board. We have a lot of questions, options as to where we are headed in the draft, but there's still a key step in the process before we can begin to answer those questions. That step is the NFL Free Agency and it officially begins today at 4 p.m.

Questions at QB

This, of course, is the most important position in all of sports, and because the Browns don't have it figured out, it's also their biggest need. I know a portion of Browns fans want to stick with Colt McCoy and surround him with talent. But, the Browns' FO showed with an offer of three first round picks that their faith in McCoy can't be that high. That said, the question is: Where are the Browns headed at QB this offseason? There are still a lot of options out there, albeit not as good of ones.

  • Matt Flynn - A lot of people assumed because the Browns missed out on RG3 that their next immediate option at QB is Matt Flynn. I wouldn't rule it out, but I think it's far from a lock that the Browns will aggressively pursue Flynn regardless of failing to trading up. Tom Heckert has already said they wouldn't "go crazy" or go after a QB in free agency.
  • Ryan Tannehill - Pat Shurmur has recently "talked up" Ryan Tannehill and if they choose not to address QB in free agency, they very well may draft one. Many think that Tannehill is quite a reach at No. 4, but there have already been plenty of points made about "no price is too high for a franchise QB." There is the option of trading down, but how far will Tannehill fall?
  • Brandon Weeden - Shurmur talked up Brandon Weeden just as much as he did Tannehill, but I don't think finding a few good things to say about a prospect means anything significant. Weeden does show a lot of potential, but one of the biggest concerns is the fact that he's coming out of college 28-years-old. He remains an option for the Browns at No. 22 or later, if he's still around.

Questions at RB

While this position isn't nearly as important as QB, it's still a position of need for the Browns.

  • Peyton Hillis - This is something that's been hit on a lot since the season ended. Peyton Hillis is going to hit free agency, that much is certain. The question is how much other teams are going to offer him. If it's fairly low, the Browns may match it. But, if someone goes higher than even moderate, I don't expect the Browns to offer more or match.
  • Trent Richardson - A lot of people thought this is where the Browns were going a month ago, and after the recent No. 2 trade, even more people think this is where we're going. Most of us here most certainly hope not. Running backs aren't Top 10 pick material and Richardson definitely isn't the BPA at this No. 4 pick.
  • Another FA or draft pick - There are a ton of other options out there. I know some people around here really like Robert Turbin. Others like Michael Bush as a free agent. I even saw one mock draft recently had us taking Lamar Miller at the No. 22 pick.

Questions at WR

The Browns still have one of, if not the worst receiving corps in the league. I feel that it's a position that absolutely needs to be addressed.

  • Justin Blackmon - I still think this should be the Browns' number one option right now. Unless a team makes an offer we can't refuse (i.e. like the Falcons in 2011), I think the Browns need to draft Justin Blackmon, the best prospect available at a position of tremendous need.
  • A handful of other FA WRs - Despite the free agent wide receiver class dwindling with the handful of franchise tags that were applied, there still some good receivers out there. Pierre Garçon, Laurent Robinson, Mario Manningham and others are all possibilities. Just don't expect anything top dollar.
  • Draft pick at No. 22 or later - There will be a ton of options here as well. I'm sure the likes of Michael Floyd and Kendall Wright won't slip all the way to No. 22, but if they do either of them would be a steal. Stephen Hill really helped his stock after an amazing combine performance and a good pro-day as well. Tommy Streeter has the measurables if we're looking for someone to stretch the field in the second round.