Free agency kicks off Thursday at 4:00 PM ET, but early Thursday morning we will begin our live blog for all Cleveland Browns and NFL news, so be sure to tune in for that. In the mean time, let’s take a look at some reports that developed late Wednesday. First, remember the top two players in my free agency wishlist? It appears as though the Browns are serious about offering each of them top dollar contracts.
First, we start with SS Tony Jefferson. Per Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Browns have offered Jefferson “the most money by far.”
Browns have a legit shot at landing S Tony Jefferson, are offering him the most money by far, sources tell me + @RapSheet. Ravens in it too.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 8, 2017
Despite the dollar amount, Garafolo later says that Jefferson is intrigued by being paired up in Baltimore with a dominant safety in Eric Weddle. The Ravens have been clearing cap space so make at least one big splash in this year’s class.
UPDATE: Per Ian Rapoport, Jefferson will pick the Ravens over the Browns.
Next up is a follow up on our report from earlier about OG Kevin Zeitler. Per NFL_DRAFT_BITES, which isn’t the most well-known source but also doesn’t seem to be spinning things out of thin air, speculates that the Browns are going all out to lure the Bengals guard:
#Browns Overwhelming Kevin Zeitler w/ size of offer. Would become highest paid Guard NFL History w/ $11.5M+ per yr & close to $30M guarantee— NFL_DRAFT_Bites (@NFLDraftBites) March 8, 2017
The estimate for Zeitler would actually be a little close to what I projected.
Garafolo noted that several Browns veterans have been trying to recruit free agents, expressing their confidence in how quickly the team can turn things around. The Browns don’t have very many veterans, so the only guys I can think of vouching for the club are LT Joe Thomas, CB Joe Haden, and LB Jamie Collins.
Browns vets talked to free agents in recent days, telling them this team plans to turn things around quickly, hoping to recruit them.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 8, 2017
Lastly, Benjamin Albright of Yahoo Sports, who has been money on several rumors already, says that WR Terrelle Pryor and WR Alshon Jeffrey “vastly overestimated their market value.”
Pryor and Jeffrey finding they vastly overestimated their market/market value.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 9, 2017
That could mean that Pryor returns to the Browns on Thursday, but the question in my head is whether Cleveland now lowers their offer? Could the Browns hit a big home run this free agency with Jefferson, Zeitler, and Pryor?