Head coach Mike Pettine's hybrid 3-4 defensive scheme requires outside pass rushers. The Browns have their eyes set on one such playmaker.
The Browns are in pursuit of former Eagles linebacker Trent Cole. The 32-year-old pass rusher is set to come to Cleveland on Sunday and travel to Indianapolis on Monday.
Trent Cole will visit the browns on Sunday and the colts Monday.— Derrick Gunn (@TheRealDGunnCSN) March 6, 2015
The Eagles released Cole on Wednesday, as the two sides failed to renegotiate Cole's contract for 2015. The former Philadelphia fifth round draft pick was set to earn a base salary of $10 million next season, a number too high for the team's liking.
Cole enjoyed a fruitful 10-year career in Philadelphia as a pass rusher. The Xenia, Ohio native recorded 436 tackles and 85.5 sacks as an Eagle, second only to Reggie White in franchise history. Cole's consistency is equally remarkable as his sack total, as he missed just five games in ten seasons.
Cole hit his prime in 2007 and sustained a high level of success through 2011, reaching the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009. Cole has been effective in the past three seasons, but not as dominant. In 2014, the University of Cincinnati product notched 6.5 sacks, compared to 11 in 2011.
With experience in both the 4-3 and 3-4, Cole has flexibility as a pass rusher. He thrived more as a 4-3 end than a 3-4 linebacker in Philadelphia, but has posted good enough numbers in recent years to make him a viable option for the Browns at linebacker.
Other teams have also shown a desire to sign Cole. As stated above, the Colts will meet with him on Monday. Cole met with the Buccaneers today and the Cardinals "also have interest," according to Adam Caplan.
The addition of Cole could give the Browns a fearsome trio of veteran linebackers, along with Paul Kruger and Karlos Dansby. The Browns will have to pony up some cash for Cole, as pass rushers always come at a premium, but the Browns have the money and the need for a player of his caliber.