When an NFL team executes a trade in June, a month typically known as the dead of the offseason, a blogger like myself it going to salivate at the idea of having something fresh to talk about for a day or two. With that in mind, here are a few more things related to the Cleveland Browns acquiring punter Andy Lee from the 49ers:
Tom Reed of the Plain Dealer had the chance to ask Browns SS Donte Whitner about Lee, as the two were teammates a couple years ago in San Francisco. "I think it's a great pickup," Whitner told Reed. "(Lee) can place the ball where he wants it and he kicks it really high to let guys get down the field and cover them."
Just how good is Lee in terms of other NFL punters? According to the Mercury News, Lee ranks fifth all-time in both gross average and net average. We might even get to see some punts with really long distance on them at some point:
New #Browns PT Andy Lee has a booming leg. One of only 3 punters in NFL history with multiple career punts of 81+ yds. Turns 33 this year.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) June 6, 2015
With the cap space that Lee will absorb now, and the fact that he is 33 years of age, it appears as though the Browns have come full circle to what Joe Banner's reign saw happen with Phil Dawson. Under Banner, some say that Dawson chose to leave, and he very well may have. However, I also think with the right, attractive offer -- such as what the Browns will be paying Lee now, Dawson would've stayed.
Some fans might wonder, "is there any chance the Browns could get Dawson too?" On one hand, the 49ers have had such a bizarre offseason and Cleveland has no veteran kicker. Those things combined make it seem like a possibility. However, the 49ers had already drafted a punter in the fifth round this year, so it was only a matter of time before they parted ways with Lee. San Francisco wouldn't have anybody to replace Dawson with, so I'm not counting on anything.
In a press release by the Browns, here is what Lee said about joining his new team:
“I'm excited about my new start and becoming a member of the Cleveland Browns,” Lee said. “I've heard so many good things about the city of Cleveland and the loyalty and passion of the fans from my former teammate Phil Dawson. I've also heard some very positive things about the type of organization and team the Browns are building so my family and I are very much looking forward to becoming a part of it.”
You can also read what Niners Nation, our 49ers affiliate, is saying about Lee's departure.