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Sashi Brown’s (Short) Career Running The Browns - Ez Like Sunday Morning 6/25/17

Just Eighteen Months Into The Job, The Roster Is Almost Completely Turned Over

5th Annual NFL Honors - Arrivals
Hue, Dee, Sashi. Let Us Hope It Stays Like This For A Long Time
Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

As the calendar turned to 2016, Browns fans had lost patience with GM Ray Farmer and HC Mike Pettine. So too, had owner Jimmy Haslam, as he fired both on January 3, 2016. That same day, he promoted Sashi Brown to the position of Vice President of Football Operations, a move that was somewhat surprising. It would have been even more so had it been understood at the time that the move was essentially making Brown the de facto General Manager.

The following day the Browns hired Paul DePodesta to be the Chief Strategy Officer, and the braintrust of Cleveland’s front office was formed. Today we’re going to review the moves that have been made since those first few days of ‘16, and catalog the way not only that the roster has changed, but how we have acquired future assets while maintaining a very healthy salary cap situation.

As with a few already, each item will have links to the respective DBN article to which it corresponds. It’s always interesting to go back and review the reaction of these moves at the time that they happened. We’ll start with the biggest and most important decision:

January 14th, 2016 - Browns Hire Hue Jackson as Head Coach

NFL: Cleveland Browns-Press Conference
No doubt about it, Hue was the most highly sought-after coach candidate available in 2016
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It may be hard to remember how excited we all were but this was big news for the good guys, and happened just days after a crushing loss for the Bengals in the playoffs, which is normally hilarious except for it benefited the Steelers. If you recall in that game, Cincinnati essentially had the game sewn up, but turned it over deep in Pittsburgh territory on a fumble by Jeremy Hill. Then even with a gimpy Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers were able to get into field position to win the game because of dual personal-fouls that accounted for 30 yards.

That is all relevant because it was a pretty wild ending to a game the Bengals really should have won. Had they, given the schedule the Browns were keeping at the time, it’s entirely possible they don’t strike a deal with Jackson. There were other guys we were looking at and who knows if we would have gone the patient route had Cincinnati moved on. I prefer to look at the their bad luck as our good fortune, as the first changing of the bad tide of events which has engulfed our franchise for so long. Especially with Hill’s fumble being the catalyst.

January 15th, 2016 - Browns retain Chris Tabor as Special Teams Coordinator

NFL: Preseason-Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Longest-tenured member of the Browns’ coaching staff
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

People really seem to have a problem with this guy for reasons I don’t quite understand. He’s been with the team since 2011, and has somehow managed to survive the tossing of three prior regimes. There’s nothing about the Browns’ ST units over the years that strikes me as overly positive or negative, so I guess you can say we have at least been consistent.

There’s obviously something positive about him as Jackson couldn’t wait to tell about our selecting Jabrill Peppers on draft night. He’s clearly a respected voice in the building, and I think the 2nd-longest standing member of the entire organization outside Joe Thomas.

January 21st, 2016 - Browns sign Bengals RB Terrell Watson

Flier taken on a big back with which Hue had some familiarity from his time in Cincy.

January 23rd, 2016 - Browns hire Ray Horton, Pep Hamilton, Al Saunders, Kirby Wilson, Hal Hunter, Mark Hutson, Greg Seamon, Bob Saunders, Shawn Mennenga & Stan Watson

Lot of activity on this day. Horton would be the DC, Hamilton the Asst. HC/Offense, Saunders the Senior Offensive Asst./WR Coach, Wilson the RB/Run-game coordinator, Hunter the offensive line coach, Hutson the Asst. OL coach, Seamon the TE Coach, Saunders the offensive quality control coach, with Mennenga and Watson working with Special Teams.

January 27th, 2016 - Browns name Andrew Berry Vice President of Player Personnel

Pretty significant piece here. Prior to this he had been the Colts’ pro-scouting coordinator.

February 8th, 2016 - Browns hire Rock Cartwright, Louie Cioffi, Ken Delgado, Johnny Holland, Cannon Matthews, Robert Nunn, Eric Sanders & Ryan Slowik

Respectively: the offensive quality control coach, defensive backs coach, assistant defensive line coach, inside linebackers coach, assistant defensive backs coach, defensive line coach, defensive quality control coach and OLB coach.

February 19th, 2016 - Browns terminate the contracts of Jim Dray and Randy Starks

This is the first of what will become a wave of roster cuts of guys that, while they provide some immediate value at their respective positions, were not going to be part of the longterm plans. Saved $4.775M in capspace with the moves.

March 3rd, 2016 - Browns announce the resignation of Alec Scheiner

This was a fairly significant move, as Scheiner had been thought to be something of a confidant and respected voice in the ear of Jimmy Haslam. The official team-version is that he was leaving to pursue a full-time role doing something else (he is not currently working for any sports franchise) and they were grateful for his tutelage over his time here (beginning in 2013).

What has been demonstrated, however, is that since he has not been part of the organization, the various leaks which pervaded the franchise all throughout the Mike Pettine/Ray Farmer era have stopped. There is also some hope that the new uniforms which began in 2015 were actually the brain-child/main interest of Scheiner, and thus maybe we could return to the favored traditional threads at the next opportunity. Time will tell.

March 8th, 2016 - Browns re-sign Tank Carder, Jamie Meder, and Raheem Mostert

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Tank is the player version of Chris Tabor
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Interesting that of all the roster moves, this little day in March of ‘16 included two guys that, IMO, are going to be on the opening day roster yet again in 2017. The above-pictured Carder has been a reserve ILB and special teams contributor since joining the team originally in 2012. Every year it seems people are ready to write him off, and every year he makes it. Especially after trading Demario Davis recently, he’ll make it again this year.

March 11th, 2016 - Browns waive Johnny Manziel, sign Alvin Bailey and Justin Tuggle

Kind of a big deal here, as the universally agreed-upon addition-by-subtraction move of releasing the erstwhile Billy Vegas, who I think is still poised to become an arena league superstar at some point.

March 16th, 2016 - Browns terminate the contracts of Karlos Dansby and Dwayne Bowe, Sign LB Demario Davis.

Dansby had a pretty good year with us in 2015 but again wasn’t going to be part of the future. Bowe was a big disappointment and represented a great deal of the frustration fans had with Farmer.

March 17th, 2016 - Browns sign Rahim Moore, Don Jones, Terrelle Pryor

Moore didn’t work out in Houston, so we decided to kick some cheap tires. Jones was a holdover from the year before and Pryor, welp...

March 24th, 2016 - Browns sign Robert Griffin III

The first of several moves to address the QB position. With Manziel gone and only Josh McCown in the roster, Griffin pretty much assumed the starting job right away.

April 2nd, 2016 - Browns waive Ifo Ekpre-Olomu & Donte Whitner

Whitner had a very disappointing 2015, and like Dansby, Starks, Dray and Bowe continued a string of allowing aging vets with large contracts to see the door. Ifo was essentially a Ray Farmer lottery ticket that just didn’t pay off. He since has continued to struggle staying healthy, which kind of validates the move.

April 4th, 2016 - Browns sign Austin Pasztor, Kaleb Johnson, Scott Solomon, Travis Coons & Darius Jennings

Pasztor would end up starting for us all of last year at RT, before becoming a FA this last offseason. Scott Solomon continues to be a legend.

April 14th, 2016 - Browns claim Chase Ford off waivers

It was epic.

April 18th, 2016 - Browns Claim Jackson Jeffcoat

Almost as big a deal as Chase Ford

April 20th, 2016 - Browns trade the #2 pick overall to the Eagles

NCAA Football: FCS Championship-Jacksonville State vs North Dakota State
This was the prize we passed on
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

So this really has become THE move that has defined the short tenure of Brown. Trading the #2 overall pick to the Eagles, and passing up on Carson Wentz was a gamble, and one that we’ll not know was worth it for a few years.

What the trade turned out being was our #2 in ‘16 and our 4th in ‘17, for Philly’s #8, 77, and 100 in ‘16, their 1st rounder in 2017 and their 2nd rounder in 2018. Pretty massive haul for moving down six spots.

April 25th, 2016 - Browns sign Saalim Hakim, waived Chase Ford

We had those few short weeks with Chase Ford, and that would be all.

May 2nd, 2016 - Browns terminate the contract of Scott Solomon, waive Saalim Hakim

It was the end of the line for “Bloodbath”, as he never did live up to the promise shown in that Carolina game.


NFL: 2016 NFL Draft
With the 15th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft...
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

After trading the #2 overall, the good guys started the night with the #8 overall, but gave that up to the Tennessee Titans in a move that netted us their 3rd rounder in ‘16 and 2nd rounder in ‘17, while we ponied up our ‘16 sixth-rounder. The rest of our draft would go thus:

  1. #15 overall: Corey Coleman, WR - Baylor
  2. 2nd round, pick one (#32 overall): Emmanuel Ogbah, DE - Oklahoma St.
  3. 3rd round, pick two (#65 overall): Carl Nassib, DL - Penn St.
  4. 3rd round, pick thirteen (#76 overall): Shon Coleman, T - Auburn
  5. 3rd round, pick thirty-one (#93 overall): Cody Kessler, QB - USC
  6. 4th round, pick one (#99 overall): Joe Schobert, LB - Wisconsin
  7. 4th round, pick sixteen (#114 overall): Ricardo Louis, WR - Auburn
  8. 4th round, pick thirty-one (#129 overall): Derrick Kindred, S - TCU
  9. 4th round, pick forty (#138 overall): Seth DeValve, TE - Princeton
  10. 5th round, pick five, (#154 overall): Jordan Payton, WR - UCLA
  11. 5th round, pick thirty-one (#168 overall): Spencer Drango, OL - Baylor
  12. 5th round, pick thirty-five (#172 overall): Rashard Higgins, WR - Colorado St.
  13. 5th round, pick thirty-six (#173 overall): Trey Caldwell, DB - Louisiana-Monroe
  14. 7th round, pick twenty-nine (#250 overall): Scooby Wright, LB - Arizona

Also, needs to be noted that in the 7th round, we acquired Jamar Taylor for basically nothing, moving down 27 spots where we eventually drafted Scooby Wright. Very low-key move amidst a busy draft weekend worth noting.

2016 UDFA’s

LB Dominique Alexander, PK Brad Craddock, DB Kenya Dennis, DB Mikell Everette, TE J.P. Holtz, DB Tracy Howard, DL Nile Lawrence-Stample, OL Mike Matthews, DL Kyle Rose, FB Patrick Skov and DB A.J. Stamps.

May 18th, 2016 - Browns Waive Brad Craddock. Claim Jaden Oberkrom off waivers from Jacksonville.

Not the most consequential move made.

May 20th, 2016 - Browns place Jaden Oberkrom on the reserve/retired list, sign Dennis Parks.

All the hope that had been invested in Oberkrom just two days earlier came crashing down.

May 24th, 2016 - Browns terminate the contract of Brian Hartline and sign David Richards

Another veteran that theoretically may have helped us last year, but wasn’t in the long-term plans and thus, was summarily dispatched.

July 28th, 2016 - Browns place Desmond Bryant on the reserve/non-football injury list. Signed TE David Reeves.

Bryant is a rare bird, as he’s an aging veteran with a large (enough) salary but still is on the team after missing all of 2016. Given Hue’s recent excitement about Bryant’s performance during OTA’s, he may make the team in 2017.

August 1st through August 15th, 2016 - Browns make several roster moves

These weren’t colossally important: Signed LB Jason Neill, OL Corey Tucker, FB Robert Hughes RB Rajion Neal, DL Chigbo Anunoby, DL Kenton Adeyemi, and WR Ed Eagan. Waived LB Jackson Jeffcoat, OL Conor Boffeli, and FB Patrick Skov. Waive/injured WR Rannell Hall. Reached an injury settlement with DL Kyle Rose. Placed OL Michael Bowie on the reserve/retired list

August 17th, 2016 - Browns suspended K'Waun Williams, waive Erle Ladson

This was an odd sequence of events. Williams had been a contributor but also had injury troubles. He was apparently hurt, but there was some sort of dispute. Ultimately this never got resolved.

August 20th & 21st - Browns sign Jahwan Edwards, waived/injured WR Dennis Parks. sign WR Josh Boyce

Boyce is still on the roster and has an outside shot of making the team.

August 25th - Browns trade Barkevious Mingo

Yep, another first-round flop. Sashi officially cut ties and we were able extract a 5th rounder for him from New England.

August 29th, 2016 - Browns roster cut-downs include Paul Kruger, others

Kruger was the crown-jewel (along with Mingo) of the 2013 offseason. Three years later we were happy to give away his contract. Also 86’d Nick Hayden, Austin Davis, Travis Coons, Sean Baker, E.J. Bibbs, Josh Boyce, Ed Eagan, Robert Hughes, K'Waun Williams, David Reeves Cory Tucker and Tim Scott. Placed DL Nike Lawrence-Stample and RB Glenn Winston on injured reserve. We also Signed P Michael Palardy.

August 29th, 2016 - Browns trade Andy Lee to Panthers

I loved this move. We got a 4th rounder while giving up a 7th, which is ludicrous value for a punter, even one as good as Lee. Also, in the link above there is a dead-nails perfect depiction of the entire negotiation process which I highly recommend.

September 2th, 2016 - Browns sign Stephen Paea, waive/injured Rajion Neal

This move drummed up some excitement at the time. Don’t honestly remember him doing anything last year.

September 3rd, 2016 - Browns release Taylor Gabriel amidst final roster cuts

This is a long list with significant names at the front end: Taylor Gabriel, Pierre Desir, Charles Gaines, Marlon Moore, Michael Palardy, Kenton Adeyemi, Chigbo Anunoby, Jahwan Edwards, Mikell Everette, Dan France, Garth Gerhart, Connor Hamlett, J.P. Holtz, Darius Jennings, Kaleb Johnson, Mike Matthews, Jason Neill, Eric Patterson, Kasey Redfern and LB Justin Tuggle. Placed Josh Gordon and Armonty Bryant on the reserve-suspended list.

September 3rd, 2016 - Browns sign Britton Colquitt

Andy Lee’s replacement would come in the form of a much cheaper model, in the former Bronco’s punter. I don’t know that I can really distinguish the difference in quality of punting from 2015 to 2016.

September 4th, 2016 - Browns make several roster moves, including claiming BBC

This was one of those days that was pretty unheralded by nevertheless pretty significant. We added some players, claiming Briean Boddy-Calhoun, George Atkinson III, Tyrone Holmes, Marcus Burley and Corey Lemonier off waivers.

Boddy-Calhoun may be a starting CB for us - had a very solid rookie season. Atkinson figures to be the first off the bench after Crow and Duke, and probably makes the team if he’s not aced out by Matthew Dayes (especially with Darius Jackson on IR). Tyrone Holmes flashed quite a bit his rookie year and in my view is a lock to make the team. Burley also has a great shot as our CB unit is pretty thin (especially if Jason McCourty plays FS). That’s a pretty great haul for absolutely nothing, and we may do something similar again this year as we still have the first claim-right. Something to keep an eye on after final cuts.

Guys we nixed that day were: Trey Caldwell, Cam Johnson, Raheem Mostert and Terrell Watson. We also terminated the contract of DB Rahim Moore Sr., and signed Dan France, Connor Hamlett, Darius Jennings and Kaleb Johnson to the practice squad.

September 5th, 2016 - Browns sign Kevin Hogan, seven others to practice squad

Hogan was actually drafted in the fifth round by the Chiefs, but wasn’t able to clear waivers as we snagged him and he remains on the roster. Other players added that day were Anthony Fabiano, Ed Reynolds, Trey Caldwell, Michael Palardy, Terrell Watson & (my man) Gabe Wright. We subsequently released Kaleb Johnson from the ‘squad.

September 14th, 2016 - Browns add Josh Boyce to Practice Squad

Boyce played with Robert Griffin in high school, yet this tandem never quite got to hook up for us.

September 19th, 2016 - Browns sign Charlie Whitehurst

Yeah baby. By now if you didn’t realize the season was over, you should have.

September 20th, 2016 - Browns cut John Hughes III & Scooby Wright III, sign OL Austin Reiter

Hughes was a player we had just signed to an extension the year prior, and Wright had become something of a fan favorite, but both were gone on this day. We added Reiter, in whom many are investing some hope for depth at center in 2017 (he started and played decently in one game in 2016, before suffering season-ending injury).

September 22nd, 2016 - Browns release Michael Palardy from and sign Scooby Wright III to, the practice squad.

It was always a little suspicious having a punter on the practice squad, but he was discarded in order to make room for Scoob, for a time anyway.

September 24th, 2016 - Browns sign Cody Parkey, place Patrick Murray on injured reserve

Naturally, we had not one but two freak injuries happen in the same week. First, Corey Coleman gets his hand stepped on in practice, and then Patrick Murray gets hurt. Parkey of course was famously signed and rushed into duty against the Dolphins, where he misses three FG’s, including one which would have given the Browns the victory in Cody Kessler’s first career start. He remains on the roster.

October 1st, 2016 - Browns sign Cam Johnson from Arizona's practice squad, place Nate Orchard on injured reserve

Peculiar move at the time, as it didn’t seem that Orchard’s injury merited the IR-stashing. Unfortunate that we didn’t get to see much of him in 2016 and his (and teammate Xavier Cooper’s) performance this preseason is going to be of high interest. Both were high draft selections, and perhaps can flourish in Greg Williams’ new scheme. Or they could both get cut.

Johnson played pretty well for us last year, and stands a decent shot of making the team in 2017.

October 3rd, 2016 - Browns waive Armonty Bryant

This move was also a bit weird, as Bryant was set to return from suspension just as the Browns let him go. A pass-rush talent that did end up catching on with the Lions, his attitude evidently wasn’t a fit.

October 4th, 2016 - Browns sign Connor Hamlett from the practice squad, waive Don Jones.

Hamlett’s an intriguing player - real tall and with decent speed/athleticism. Jones was unable to take advantage of a terrible Safety situation going on with us.

October 6th, 2016 - Browns sign Gabe Wright to and release Darius Jennings from the practice squad.

So at some point Wright was released, but then brought back. This would become a theme.

October 10th, 2016 - Browns claim Jonathan Cooper off waivers from New England, make other OL moves

Now THIS was a move that many thought would pan out much better than it did. Cooper was a former high first round selection but it didn’t really click in Cleveland just like it didn’t in Arizona or New England before here. Also that day we waived Anthony Fabiano and placed Austin Reiter on injured reserve.

October 11th, 2016 - Browns terminate the contract of QB Charlie Whitehurst with an injury settlement, promote Hogan & Wright

Ok so if you didn’t know when we signed Whitehurst that the season was all-but over, you most assuredly had to have known after we moved on from him in order to see what we have in Kevin Hogan.

October 12th, 2016 - Browns sign Anthony Fabiano to the practice squad

In the process, we waived Gabe Wright. Fabiano, like Reiter, has a chance to make the club as a backup center in 2017.

October 14th, 2016 - Browns place Bitonio on IR, sign Dan Vitale

Tough break for Bitonio having his season cut short by injury for the 2nd year in a row, but so far things are looking good for 2017. Vitale contributed well and figures to be on the team this season.

October 18th, 2016 - Browns place Poyer on IR, promote Ed Reynolds

Poyer had a shot to be the starting FS, but really didn’t rise to the occasion and eventually succumbed to injury. He plays for Buffalo now. Reynolds ended up playing fairly well for the balance of the season and has a really good chance of making the roster in 2017.

That day we also added Darius Hillary & Jordan Leslie to and released E.J. Bibbs from the practice squad.

October 21st, 2016 - Browns release Gabe Wright

Wright is forever undaunted.

October 24th, 2016 - Browns claim Joe Callahan & Gabe Ikard off waivers, release Darius Hillary & FB Malcolm Johnson.

Ikard is another guy that is competing for a spot at backup center this year, but the headline here is really Malcolm Johnson, who was released even though he had shown improvement at his position.

October 26th, 2016 - Browns sign Darius Hillary, Terrance Magee & Gabe Wright to and released Michael Liedtke & Terrell Watson from the practice squad.

Of note here is Gabe Wright (as usual) but also Watson - it just never clicked in place for him here, which is unfortunate because he was a different type of RB than what we had/have on the roster.

Browns Acquire Jamie Collins from The New England Patriots

NFL: Preaseason-New England Patriots at New York Giants
He can get up there
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

This trade was an absolute masterpiece now that the dust has settled a bit. What we gave up was a 2017 compensatory 3rd round pick, which basically means it was a 4th rounder. It happened to be the comp pick that we received for Mitchell Schwartz. To receive a player of Collins’ value for a even a high 3rd rounder was a great deal for us - but it got even better: had Collins not re-signed with us this offseason, we would have received a comp pick for losing him to free agency.

Essentially, Sashi was able to get us an All-pro player with a zero-risk factor. It was brilliant, and Collins instantaneously became the best defender on the field for us.

November 2, 2016 - Browns sign Connor Hamlett to and release Mitch Mathews from the practice squad

Hamlett is almost Gabe Wright-esque here.

November 23rd, 2016 - Browns designate Robert Griffin III for return from injured reserve

Not really a surprise that this happened (even if I thought there was an outside chance this designation would be used on Orchard instead), and pretty much spelled the end of the Cody Kessler experiment for 2016.

November 28th, 2016 - Browns place John Greco on injured reserve, claim Matt McCants off waivers, release Joe Callahan

As things stand now, it might be the end of the line for Greco, which is unfortunate because he was a really solid player for us for a long time and we could certainly use his versatility in 2017. McCants is on the roster but has almost no shot of making the team.

December 5th, 2016 - Browns sign Anthony Fabiano from Zach Sterup to the practice squad

Due to the Greco injury. Both of these players are on the current roster.

December 9th, 2016 - Browns place Derrick Kindred on the reserve/non-football injury list, sign Trae Elston, and add Justin Currie to the practice squad

I thought Kindred had a pretty solid rookie campaign up to this point. Looking forward to seeing his progression in 2017.

December 11th, 2016 - Browns sign Jamar Taylor to three-year contract extension

I mentioned earlier that we picked up Taylor for basically nothing, and we also re-signed him to a VERY team-friendly extension. Great get here.

December 13th, 2016 - Browns sign Gabe Wright from Mario Alford to the practice squad

As of now, Gabe Wright is not on the roster and Alford is, yet I still think there’s a greater likelihood that Wright is on the roster in 2017 than Alford does. We’ll see.

December 14th, 2016 - Browns claim Darius Jackson off waivers from Dallas, waive Corey Lemonier

People were pretty excited about this when it happened, but unfortunately will have to wait until 2018 (most likely) before seeing if Jackson can play.

December 15th - 23rd - Browns make a number of roster moves

Signed Trevon Coley, Mario Alford, J.P. Holtz, James Burgess Trey Caldwell & Trae Elston to the practice squad. Also announced that Terrence Magee was signed by Seattle from the practice squad, and waived-injured Patrick Murray.

December 27th, 2016 - Browns waive Jonathan Cooper

Welp, that didn’t last very long. As things progressed I think we did ok on the interior.

January 2nd, 2017 - Browns sign several players to futures contracts

Josh Boyce, James Burgess, Trevon Coley, Justin Currie, Trae Elston, Darius Hillary, J.P. Holtz and Zach Sterup all were signed.

January 9th, 2017 - Browns fired DC Ray Horton, Hire Greg Williams as new DC

NFL: Chicago Bears at St. Louis Rams
Attitude. That’s what Williams and his defense are all about
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Ray Horton ended up living up (or down, depending on your point of view) to everyone’s expectations in 2016. For the 2nd time in 4 years, his defense was awful for the Browns and so unsurprisingly, he was let go. Taking his place is Greg Williams, who I personally am very excited about and look forward to seeing his handi-work this fall.

January 9th, 2017 - Browns make several coaching changes

Clearly, coach Hue found some accountability for the lackluster performance in 2016 on his staff. Gone this day were defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland, offensive line coach Hal Hunter, assistant defensive backs coach Cannon Matthews and outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik.

January 10th, 2017 - Browns continue to adjust coaching staff

On this day they named Jerod Kruse assistant defensive backs coach, Clyde Simmons defensive line coach, DeWayne Walker defensive backs coach, Blake Williams linebackers coach and Bob Wylie offensive line coach.

January 24th, 2017 - Browns sign Jamie Collins to 4-year contract extension

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Good to see him in a Browns uni, and we will for a while
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

This was really THE priority of the offseason, and so gratified that we were able to get it done. Collins fortifies the LB corps and figures to be a cornerstone player for us for a long time. Huge high-marks on this acquisition/extension.

February 7th, 2017 - Browns claim Tyvis Powell off waivers, release Josh McCown and Tramon Williams

Drago is a player that I personally like a great deal, and he really did play better for us than I ever thought he would when we brought him over from Tampa. Then again, my expectations were about as low as they could be. These moves combined saved us about $11.3M in cap space.

February 8th, 2017 - Browns name David Lee quarterbacks coach

Prior to this Lee had been QB coach for Buffalo, and his signing was in part a reaction to Pep Hamilton leaving to go join the Michigan Wolverines.

February 16th, 2017 - Browns sign Charley Hughlett to a six-year contract extension

I mean, he’s no Ryan Pontbriand, but who is, right? I don’t remember anything bad happening with snaps last year so this makes sense. Tabes must really like him.

February 27th, 2017 - Browns terminate the contract of Andrew Hawkins

I always liked Baby-Hawk, but he certainly doesn’t fit the mold of what’s being done here. He’s since caught on with NE.

March 1st, 2017 - Browns place second-round, free-agent tender on Isaiah Crowell, agree to terms with Britton Colquitt on four-year contract extension.

For a UFDA, the 2nd round tender means Crow has done pretty well for himself during his short career. Colquitt shores up a steady kicking unit.

March 10th, 2017 - Free Agency Day

What great fun this was! Here were the highlight:

These were all solid, even good moves. The best, however, was yet to come:

Browns Trade for Brock Osweiler

NFL: AFC Divisional-Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Brock Osweiler seemed to be an afterthought in the trade that sent him to Cleveland
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

So there’s no two-ways about this: the Browns absolutely stole from Houston. The Texans were willing to pay the Browns a 2nd round pick in order to take Osweiler’s contract off their hands. We will have that 2nd rounder in 2018. We also swapped a 4th (which was almost a 5th) for their 6th (at the beginning of the round). So for moving down basically one round, we pick up a 2nd round pick AND a guy that has a chance to win the starting QB job. Just remarkably well done.

Incidentally, the reactions of this trade as it happened were fascinating to behold; it tended to go from shock to confusion to anger to befuddlement and then to, in most cases, uproarious laughter. Good times.

March 10th, 2017 - Browns release Robert Griffin III

The thing about this move is that it saved us about half of what Osweiler’s contract is going to cost us this year, which makes that trade all the more amazing.

March 14th, 2017 - Browns claim James Wright off waivers from Cincinnati

Wide Receiver option with which Hue has some familiarity.

March 20th, 2017 - Browns sign Brett Maher

This ends up being short-lived.

March 22nd, 2017 - Browns announced the retirement Joshua Cribbs

This has literally nothing to do with the roster construction it’s just a cool thing that happened. Cribbs is in my top five favorite players ever.

March 29th, 2017 - Browns sign Matt McCants and Jamie Meder

McCants has a tough slog to make the team, but the opportunity is there. Meder was ERFA’d here.

April 17, 2017 - Browns sign George Atkinson & Marcus Burley

Two young guys we got on that cut-day back in September, and both could end up making the team in 2017.

April 20th, 2017 - Browns terminate the contract of Alvin Bailey, waive Trae Elston and Tracy Howard

Bailey was a modest investment that didn’t quite pay off. The other two guys didn’t get a whole lot of time on the field with us.


NFL: 2017 NFL Draft
Garrett didn’t show up for it (good for him), but his being selected #1 overall was a foregone conclusion
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This time we used our #1 pick - the first overall it turned out, on TAMU EDGE standout Myles Garrett. However with our #12 selection, Sashi decided he didn’t have enough of Houston’s future assets, so he traded that pick to them in exchange for their first next year - for a full recap of all the transactions on draft go here.

  1. 1st overall: Myles Garrett, EDGE - Texas A&M
  2. 25th overall: Jabrill Peppers, DB - Michigan
  3. 29th overall: David Njoku, TE - Miami
  4. 2nd round, pick twenty (#52 overall): DeShone Kizer, QB - Notre Dame
  5. 3rd round, pick one (#65 overall): Larry Ogunjobe, DL - North Carolina-Charlotte
  6. 4th round, pick twenty (#126 overall): Howard Wilson, CB - Houston
  7. 5th round, pick sixteen (#160 overall): Roderick Johnson, T - Florida State
  8. 6th round, pick one (#185 overall): Caleb Brantley, DT - Florida
  9. 7th round, pick six (#224 overall): Zane Gonzalez, K - Arizona
  10. 7th round, pick thirty-four (#252 overall): Matt Dayes, RB - N.C. State

We started with 11 picks, ended up drafting 10 players, and stockpiled (still-more) picks into the future. Considering we also got a 1st-round prospect (Brantley) in the sixth round, and it could end up being a major draft. Time will tell.

2017 UDFA’s

LBs B.J. Bello, Ladell Fleming and Kenneth Olugbode; OL Josh Boutte; DBs J.D. Harmon, Alvin Hill, Kai Nacua and Channing Stribling; DLs Jamal Marcus and Karter Schult, and TE Taylor McNamara.

April 28th, 2017 - Browns release Gary Barnidge

This was a direct consequence of our getting Njoku. Love Barnidge but he’s another of these players on the wrong side of 30 that the coaches would rather not give reps to.

May 2nd, 2017 - Browns release Brett Maher

Meh. This just tells me that it’s Gonzalez’ job to lose, which one would figure anyway.

May 17th, 2017 - Browns sign Jason McCourty, waive Donte Carey

Very under-the-radar move made following the draft, but McCourty is a guy that can play CB or (most probably) FS. He’s a veteran presence who figures to start somewhere in the secondary, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we look back very favorably on this move as the season progresses.

May 19th, 2017 - Browns claim Chris Barker off waivers from New England, waive Gabe Wright

Sadly, this may actually be the end of the line for Gabe, but I’m still holding out hope.

May 24th, 2017 - Browns hire Ryan Grigson to do something, but not be the GM

People were a bit nervous about this move given the...spotty record of Grigson running the Colts. However, his role here figures to be significantly pared-down, and this doesn’t seem like much of a risk, big-picture.

May 30th, 2017 - Browns sign Christian Kirksey to four-year contract extension

Big deal here, as Kirksey was the only, what I would consider to be really important member of the team whose contract expires at the end of this year. Kirko won’t be going anywhere though as he and Jamie Collins will be wrecking opposing backs and receivers for a long time into the future.

June 2nd, 2017 - Browns trade Demario Davis to the New York Jets for Calvin Pryor, make other roster moves

Pryor is a former #1 selection by the Jets, so his being traded indicates a pretty disappointing career thus far. Still, he’s a player with a lot of talent and one that plays at a position of greater need for us than did the player we gave up to acquire him - with the talent level being similar-at-worst. Also saved a little bit of cap space as well.

Additionally, Darius Jackson was waive/injured (meaning he’s likely to miss all of 2017) so the Browns signed Terrance Magee to replace his spot on the roster (and in the backfield).

June 9th, 2017 - Browns waive Tyvis Powell

Timing was rather unfortunate on this one.

June 12th, 2017 - Browns sign Deon King & Richard Mullaney, waive-injured DL Nile Lawrence-Stample.

I was looking forward to seeing what Stample could do this year, but it wasn’t to be.

As of now

This is what we are looking at in terms of future draft capital:

  • 2018 additional 1st rounder (Houston)
  • 2018 additional 2nd rounder (Houston)
  • 2018 additional 2nd rounder (Philadelphia)
  • 2018 additional 4th rounder (Carolina)
  • 2018 additional 6th rounder (Pittsburgh)

Also according to Spotrac, we’re currently sitting at $59,369,437 in cap space after everything has been factored in.

So what do you think of the job Brown/Depodesta/Analytics have done to this point? Let us know in the comments section below, and Happy Sunday!


To This Point, How Would You Grade Sashi's Performance?

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