Cleveland Browns Executive VP of Football Operations Sashi Brown spoke with the national media Wednesday morning at the NFL Combine. Listed below is a transcript of the press conference, as provided by Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland and Pat McManamon of ESPN.
(How much investigating he’s done on Jimmy Garoppolo): “I wouldn’t comment on a player on another team. Just would be inappropriate for me to do and against league rules, so … I understand the interest in that and I’ve seen all the headlines being written out there, but I wouldn’t comment.”
(Can you get something done with Rosenhaus here re: Terrelle Pryor): “We’ve had good discussions with Terrelle himself through the offseason. He and I have spoken a number of times, he and Hue have spoken. We do have some meetings set up with his representatives and we’ll see what happens there. We’re still looking forward to working towards finding some middle ground with Terrelle to bring him back and have him as a Cleveland Brown for a long time.”
(Crowell’s status with the team): “Crow’s under contract obviously through the RFA tag and we’ll work to see if we can find a longer term deal for him. Right now, as he plays through this offseason through the tag we’ll wait and see how that plays out.”
(Thoughts on Josh Gordon applying for reinstatement again): “Yeah, I saw the report. Frankly, I just don’t know enough right now about what that process would look like. I do understand that he’s able to reapply at some point here in March. As I understand more, I might be able to shed more light. Right now, it would just be premature for me to say.”
(What’s the state of your quarterback position and plans going forward): “We’re always going to look to invest in that position. I think we’ve got 3 young guys on the roster between Robert (Griffin), Cody (Kessler) and Kevin (Hogan)that we’re excited to have back. We’ve moved on from Josh (McCown) obviously this offseason. But we will always look to add to that position. We think there are some guys in the draft that are intriguing for us. There could be some guys in free agency, depending on how things shake out, that can help us too.”
(Feel pressure to re-sign Pryor before he gets to market next week?): “We don’t look at it that way, to be honest, I think we’d like to have Terrelle back and that’s a priority for us. That said, we’re not going to panic if he’s not back, also. But he’s a good player, works hard, we think he fits in our system, had a lot of success with our coaches, so we think this is a great place for him to continue his career. I appreciated his remarks with the press about wanting to stay in Cleveland, and then it’s on us in this process here to try to make sure wecan exhaust all options to make that happen.”
(RG3 has 750K roster bonus due march 11. Do you know what you want to do with that or is it TBD?): “That would be something we wouldn’t talk about in this forum. We’ve had a lot of discussions, as you can imagine, about that. We haven’t made a final decision there one way or the other but we expect Robert will be back here come April when the guys come back.”
(Why wouldn’t you tag Pryor to insure at least one year back?): “I think the reality at this point is if you’re not going to use the tag, the guy’s effectively in free agency and will be solicited by other teams through theweek here in Indy. We’re realistic about that. We’ll work through the process with Terrelle and his representatives. He’s a priority. We won’t be panicked if things don’t work out and he’s not on our roster.”
(Not worth the tag): “I wouldn’t characterize it that way. We want to have him here long term as opposed to kind of a one year temporary option. I think through my conversations he understands. We value him a lot.”
(On RG3, if you expect him back in April that means you’re paying his roster bonus?) “I wouldn’t go that far. I just wouldn’t comment much more on it now. We haven’t made a decision one way or the other whether or not he’s going to be on our roster moving forward. But he is on our roster today.”
(In hindsight, would you make the same trade with Philly and bypass Carson Wentz?): “We do like the trade. It positioned us, understanding where we were as a roster, understanding that we were passing on the oppy to take a player, whether it’s Bosaor Wentz, and you tip your hat to Carson, I think he came in and played well for Philadelphia and seems to be a quarterback with a high upside. I think this is a trade when you probably look back at it that will work out for both teams. It allowed us to be in the position today where we have 2 1s, 2 2s, and had 2 3s as well.So we do like the trade for our side, and I think time will tell how all these guys that came out of that trade will develop.”
(Would you consider pursuing Garoppolo trade): “I wouldn’t comment on that in this forum. It would be inappropriate and against league rules.”
(Your relationship with Belichick): “Good. I think they’re easy to work with and I would describe it as good and leave it at that.”
(How active in free agency will you be this year?): “For us, we’re going to look at every oppy including free agency to upgrade our team. The lifeblood of what we need to be build is essentially have better results in the draft. It will not be exclusive to using picks to trade for players or looking at free agents we feel can add value to us. So we’llexplore what opportunities are out there March 7-8-9. A lot of that gets dictated by the market.”
(Uncertain availability of Garoppolo and perhaps Tyrod Taylor, how does that complicate your evaluation process?):: “I think because chronologically they’re so separated … we’ll have a pretty good idea of what’s available in free agency and have plenty of time to adjust andunderstand what’s available in the draft. We really do view the offseason as a continuum of opportunities. So we go into the Senior Bowl hoping 0t have a greatunderstanding of where we are in each of those phases of opportunities particularly at quarterback because it’s a point of emphasis for us as we try to find and stablish our starting quarterback for long term.”
(Hoyer): “I wouldn't talk about a guy that's not a free agent at this point.”
(Can you imagine going into season with the three guys that you have at QB): “Yes.”
(Why?): “That could be the reality that we're faced with so it's something that you have to prepare for. It doesn't mean that it's an aiming point on our target. And I'dleave it at that. But we do like having Cody and the work they've put in. Robert's come in and obviously had a tough year with the durability and the injury early. But the reality is those are three guys on our roster and we'll continue to develop and work with them. It doesn't mean that's necessarily our aiming point. We want one of those guys to develop and establish themselves as a good quality long-term starter for us that can win a lot of games. But I think each of them would have a way to go to establish himself that way. It doesn't mean that you give up on him.”
(QB position in draft class): “I think it's an intriguing prospect always each year. There's years where I think the group of people, the consensus is that's a strong quarterback class, and sometimes those don't pan out. There's other years where there's a guy who shows up after. Last year who would have sat here last year and said Dak's a guy that needs to be a top five pick. So the reality is you have to go in with enough humility and also diligence to understand what each prospect provides, and then put them in your system or at least project them into your system and see how he's going to perform for you. The Senior Bowl was a great opportunity for our coaches and our personnel folks to get a better look at some of the prospects coming out. We'll continue to do work on some of the underclassmen as well.”
(Josh Gordon — ready to move on): “We haven't and we've really been focused, Scott, to be honest — until we saw some of the reports recently — on the guys that are on the roster. On occasion I would check in with Josh and we would … just personally because we care for the young man. But beyond that we really haven't sat down to talk about what it would be like if he gets back in. Or even taking the time to understand exactly what that would look like and I think that's a pretty complicated process at this point given, kind of,his history. So it would be largely speculative at best and we've got a lot of guys to focus our attention on.”
(Trading picks for players and cost control): “I wouldn't call it necessarily a deterrent. You just factor that into the evaluation. I don't think anybody thinks Jamie Collins is a third-round talent. It's just when you look at the number of years under control under his contract, what you're trading for, how long you may or may not have him on your roster, certainly factors into someof the discussions you have with other teams. But for us, we want to emphasize guys who are kind of entering their primes or in their primes or younger, just because of where we are as we build our roster.”
(Not have a guy for as many years): “And then obviously you have a chance to extend him or what are your chances of doing that as well. We really liked the Collins trade. I think it worked well for New England. I think it worked well for us.”
(On Jamie Collins): “Really talented player. Passionate about football. A high football intelligence and incredibly athletic. So we like all those things. Fit within our building. Fit with our coaches. He and Hue have I think have a good and growing relationship. So we liked everything we saw about him. And he played well adjusting to a new system.I don't know how many tackles he had, but I think he was our second leading tackler at the end of the season.”
(Give you pause Patriots were willing to give him up): “No, no. I think you've seen in time that they'e acquired and let go of players for a variety of reasons. You have to make your own individual evaluations and trust those. We feel good about Jamie and still do.
(Worry about being too young): “We look at it as competition, but we absolutely do value veteran presence. I think well documented we kept around last year some of the veterans we keep around in terms of Josh McCown, Tramon and some of those guys that aren't going to be here next year. Some of our younger guys are going to have to step up. But we charged them with that as soon as they came in the door. This is not time to take a redshirt year. When you come in and you're drafted by us you're brought in as a CFA, your time is now. And the clock starts ticking from a leadership perspective and on the field as well.”
(Open to trading top pick): “We're going to responsibly listen to any opportunities that are out there. I think we have to do that. It's not a design of ours. We would have to wait and see what might come, and what player might be available there as we get through this process.”
(Corey Coleman): “I think Corey had two separate injuries during the year that limited him, but we liked the competitiveness, the athleticism. And he's going to develop; we understood that coming out of Baylor and coming into the league that it's going to take him some time to get to full maturity. But I think you can see the speed, the competitiveness,the ability to make some big plays and the strength. He's a young player I think will be good for us for a long time. If you project out what his production would have been over the course of the season without the injuries, he would have had a good rookie year and (be) on his way to a good second year. And we expect that from him this year.”
(Myles Garrett) “A good player.”
(Use picks or flexible with moves): “I think it provides both. I think it provides us a lot of flexibility in terms of how we build the roster and could be patching together to move up to get a player wecovet and target. Could be again acquiring a player from another roster. So it gives you a lot of flexibility as you move forward. Kind of our worst case scenario, we have a bag of young talented players that we frankly need to build our foundation and move on toward winning.
(Garrett and Eatson videos) “I don't think you can take some of this stuff too serious. We're realistic about where are as a brand and a roster. More importantly I think these are young men who are eager to play in the NFL. They want to go different places, perhaps, but I think more important is you just can't take it too seriously. Obviously it's been well documentedand explained. Some of the representatives of the players called to explain some of the comments, and I explained to those guys at the time that we don't take it too serious.
You look forward to having an opportunity to meet them. They're both high character young men. Move forward, manger yourself with class and go from there. I think there'ssome lessons all around to be learned.”