The Cleveland Browns had a wild Day 1 of free agency on Thursday, signing a wide receiver and two offensive lineman, trading for a quarterback they likely won’t be keeping, and not seeing any action on WR Terrelle Pryor yet. We return for another day of our live blog -- the newest updates will be at the top of this thread.
2017 Browns Free Agency Live Blog - Day 2
8:38 PM: The 2017 Cleveland Football Clinic began tonight, and one of the sessions was scheduled to involve Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams speaking on the following topic:
How to Rebuild a Defensive Culture & How to Defend Spread Offense Run & Screen Game
Brendan Leister was in attendance, and said that Williams basically confirmed that DE Myles Garrett will be the first overall pick:
Confirmed. Was incredible. Myles Garrett is the pick by the way, for those who thought it might be a QB or Jamal Adams or whatever.— Brendan Leister (@BrendanLeister) March 11, 2017
When Leister was asked what made him think that the Browns will get Garrett, Leister responded on Twitter, “Williams told the entire room at the clinic multiple times -- he can’t wait to coach him.”
8:21 PM: So I guess the big news that was happening just as I was walking in the door earlier was that the Patriots traded their first-round pick (No. 32) and the compensatory pick in the third round from Cleveland (via the Jamie Collins trade) to the Saints for WR Brandin Cooks. New England is heavily short on draft picks this year, should they decide they need some (from Cleveland) for QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
TRADE! The Patriots have traded their #32 & 3rd #103 pick to the Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks & their 4th #118 pick per sources— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 11, 2017
8:15 PM: Some more year-by-year contract details, this time for WR Kenny Britt:
Kenny Britt Browns deal: $32.5M, $6.5M signing bonus, $17M gtd; salaries $4M (gtd), $6.5M (full gtd third day of 2018), $7.75M, $7.75M— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 11, 2017
8:10 PM: I’m still catching up here on a few moves. The Packers signed TE Martellus Bennett, much to the delight of QB Aaron Rodgers. In former Browns news, DT Stephen Paea has signed with the Dallas Cowboys:
Cowboys also have signed defensive lineman Stephen Paea. Quiet for 24 hours, they have started making some moves.— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) March 10, 2017
7:52 PM: So, it’s looking like WR Terrelle Pryor’s contract is more like a 1-year, $6 million deal, as Jason La Canfora says the $2 million in incentives are of the “not likely to be earned” variety. Also, Benjamin Albright of Yahoo Sports says the following, supporting the narrative we hinted at earlier:
I can tell you #Browns offered Pryor a multi-year deal, & a higher APY than the $6mil +$2mil in unlikely to be earned incentives he signed— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 10, 2017
7:48 PM: And we’re back! I will be spending the next half hour trying to catch up on any news I missed during the three hours I went dark. Right off the bat, I did see that the Colts are indeed building the old Browns linebackers group — after signing OLB Barkevious Mingo the other day, they’ve now added DE Jabaal Sheard:
Colts giving Jabaal Sheard a three-year deal for $25.5M, including $12.75M guaranteed, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2017
4:40 PM: I have to step away for a couple of hours. If any Browns news breaks, check the comments section all the way at the bottom...and I also hope that one of our staff members might be able to jump in and update the live blog too. -ChrisP
4:25 PM: Watching the welcome video, it seems like he is anything but excited to be in Washington. (sigh) Also, remember that Cleveland will NOT receive a compensatory pick for Pryor, because they signed a lot more free agents to big contracts than they lost.
4:22 PM: Our story is up now on WR Terrelle Pryor joining the Washington Redskins. It’s depressing. I don’t blame the Browns in this situation, but it’s still a bummer that we can’t be the team that continues the exciting experiment that Pryor was.
3:57 PM: And now ESPN’s Adam Schefter is calling it a 1-year, $8 million deal for Pryor in Washington. Don’t blame the Browns for this -- if you’ve read The OBR insider forums, this is all on Drew Rosenhaus and Pryor to an extent.
Washington giving WR Terrelle Pryor a one-year, $8 million deal, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2017
3:55 PM: Nooooo! According to this report, the Redskins are about to get WR Terrelle Pryor:
#Redskins very close to deal with Terrelle Pryor. Should happen soon, per source— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) March 10, 2017
3:51 PM: The Patriots made a deal for Panthers DE Kony Ealy.
Carolina trading DE Kony Ealy and a third-round pick to Patriots in exchange for New England's second-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2017
3:42 PM: What is this? A positive Browns piece from Jason La Canfora, led with the tag line of, “It's still early, but the Browns are starting to see some positive results after their front-office restructuring.” He obtained several quotes from NFL executives around the NFL in response to the Browns-Texans trade. I encourage you to read the whole thing, but I’ll highlight the parts related to executives:
Once some executives had a chance to catch their breath on what went down during a rapid free-agency frenzy on Thursday, I was able to download them for their thoughts. Some of the more forward-thinking ones loved it and thought it was good for the game. “I like that trade for both teams,” as one put it. “But I think [the Browns] thinking they can trade him to someone else is idiotic. And the problem for them is -- just look at their draft last year -- you can have all the picks in the world but in the end you have to be good at evaluating football players, and not just trade value, to build a good football team. Otherwise, you go 1-15.”
A more old-school executive from a more conservative franchise offered the following: “I hate that trade. I hate it. That’s not a football trade.”
And yet another veteran executive believed the trade skirted the spirit of NFL regulations about in essence buying and/or selling draft picks/cap space. “How is that legal???” one texted me. “Teams are going to go berserk.”
3:22 PM: Over at MMQB, SS Tony Jefferson revealed some his free agency process. He ultimately signed a 4-year, $36 million deal with $19 million guaranteed with the Baltimore Ravens. We had heard that the Browns were offering him more money, and Jefferson confirmed that. He said the Jets and the Browns were each offering $1.5 million more per year, which would’ve made it a 4-year, $42 million deal. Jefferson declined because he preferred to play for a team more ready to contend.
For what it’s worth, when I said I wanted the Browns to sign Jefferson, I predicted a 4-year deal worth $36 million and $16 million guaranteed. Not too bad. I was also correct on Cleveland getting both of their offensive linemen. The last time I was correct on my projected free agents was back in 2007. So, I guess I must be good at these things every decade.
2:32 PM: This is pretty interesting: it’s being reported that NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock is being considered for the GM job in Washington.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has emerged as a candidate to become Washington’s general manager, sources tell @FieldYates and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2017
1:33 PM: On Twitter, QB Robert Griffin III tweeted his goodbye to Browns fans. Also, some time this afternoon, new Browns RG Kevin Zeitler will be appearing on Bull & Fox on 92.3 the Fan.
12:52 PM: Yahoo Sports’ Benjamin Albright was just on 92.3 the Fan right now. While I was listening, DBN member CTTribe73 did a great job recapping the main points in the comments section for everyone:
1) Browns sources have told him that they feel like they are OUT on Garappolo. Pats balking at dealing him and putting ‘absurd’ prices out there, and the Browns WILL NOT, WILL NOT trade out of 1/1. They are ‘committed’ to taking Garrett.
2) Same sources - QB competition right now will come down to Cody Kessler and a high draft pick.
3) Brock was not necessarily the problem in Houston; Bill O’Brien should share a lot of the blame. He does not think that Osweiler is a top 15 QB, based on his body of work. He would hang on to Osweiler as a third body, roll with Kessler/Osweiler competition and draft your QB high.
4) Thinks the Jets could be an interested party in trade, but CLE would (obviously) eat money. Overall, he thought the trade was brilliant.
12:34 PM: Good afternoon, Browns fans! We greet you with news from ESPN’s Josina Anderson, who says the Browns will be releasing QB Robert Griffin III. Schefter also confirmed the team will release him today. Here is our story on the matter.
Source tells me Robert Griffin III is getting released. #Browns— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 10, 2017
Earlier, we said the Browns have about $49.5 million in available cap space. The move will clear about $6.9 million in space, but when you remove one player from the Top 51, you bump a minimum salary player ($540,000) into it. Therefore, the net change is a gain of $6.36 million. So when the Browns officially release Griffin, they should have $55.86 million in available cap space.
11:20 AM: QB Kirk Cousins has signed his franchise tender with the Redskins, making him eligible to be traded if it comes to that.
10:46 AM: According to Master Tesfatsion, a Redskins beat reporter for the Washington Post, WR Terrelle Pryor met with Washington on Thursday night, but left this morning without a contract.
Per an ESPN report, the Redskins dined with Pryor Thursday night, and then met with him again Friday morning. The dinner had to be awkward, knowing the club had just fired their GM and were being ridiculed league-wide.
UFA WR Terrelle Pryor met with the #Redskins Thursday night but left Friday without a deal, per source.— Master Tesfatsion (@MasterTes) March 10, 2017
10:28 AM: It looks like former Browns TE Jordan Cameron is retiring at the age of 28, presumably to all of the concussions he has suffered in his young career.
10:16 AM: Welcome to Cleveland! RG Kevin Zeitler will wear No. 70. And WR Kenny Britt is already working to get fans pumped up on Twitter.
Ppl ask why Cleveland? Me : why not Cleveland? Why not go somewhere to make a change and start something new. #BePartOfSomethingSpecial— Kenny Britt (@KennyBritt_18) March 10, 2017
10:15 AM: We stepped away for a second, but with good reason: to form an estimate of how much cap space the Browns still have left heading into Day 2. You can read our full breakdown here, which includes either the contracts or rough estimates of the contracts for the moves Cleveland made on Thursday.
Long story short, the Browns have about $49.5 million in available cap space. Considering the highest-paid players are already gone, Cleveland could still be very active with some more mid-level or role players if they choose to. The space is also there for WR Terrelle Pryor if he decides to come back (although I’m hoping the Redskins, out of desperation, don’t offer him something like a 1-year, $16 million deal).
The Browns could also pick up about $8 million in extra cap space if they release QB Robert Griffin III or work out a trade for QB Brock Osweiler again.
9:33 AM: Go here and vote (A, B, C, D, or F) on what grade you would assign the Browns on Day 1 of NFL Free Agency. We’ll post the results later on.
9:10 AM: Looking through multiple sources in general, these are the players considered the top free agents still available heading into Day 2 of free agency. You can see a full list from NFL.com.
- OG T.J. Lang
- LB Dont’a Hightower
- WR Terrelle Pryor
- DL Dontari Poe
- DE Jabaal Sheard
- TE Martellus Bennett
- RB Adrian Peterson
- RB Jamaal Charles
- DL Johnathan Hankins
- S T.J. McDonald
9:05 AM: Last night, we pointed out how ESPN’s Bill Barnwell completely called the Cleveland-Houston trade for QB Brock Osweiler back in December. This morning, he reflected on the actual execution of the trade, which I suggest you take the time to read.
8:55 AM: ESPN’s Adam Schefter remains insistent that the New England Patriots will NOT trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo under any circumstances, based on what they’ve been conveying to him. In a radio interview this morning, he told the hosts:
.@AdamSchefter says he got a text yesterday (from a Patriots source) "Does Cleveland know we're not trading Jimmy Garoppolo?"— Kirk and Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) March 10, 2017
Ed Werder of ESPN also supports that claim:
8:52 AM: So, early this morning, QB Jimmy Garoppolo posted the following message to his Instagram account, which led many to believe he was being traded [to the Browns]:
The post woke up Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network earlier than he would’ve liked, and they determined that someone hacked Garoppolo’s Instagram account. There is no action on such a trade:
Spoke to someone close to Jimmy Garoppolo who had no knowledge of any trade and believes it's a hack. Alas, it's 5:26 am now & we're all up— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 10, 2017
Yesterday, some members of the media questioned whether the NFL would approve the Browns’ trade for QB Brock Osweiler. Per Adam Schefter, there is no turning back now, as the league has officially approved it, perhaps setting a new precedent in the NFL for cash-related transactions:
Despite any questions that some raised, the NFL officially has approved the Brock-Osweiler-to-Cleveland trade, per the league's wire.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2017
We’ll catch up on a few other headlines in a second here.