We are so close to real news and information this offseason for the Cleveland Browns roster. You can almost smell it. A few other teams are making moves around the league to get their roster and salary cap in check prior to the start of the NFL combine in a few days.
For the Browns, a vast majority of the questions are on the defensive side of the ball. Not only did that unit struggle last year but Jim Schwartz is in as the new defensive coordinator, there are a number of free agents at linebacker and a huge decision to make with John Johnson III’s contract.
A couple of big named players hit the market late this week. One of the interesting aspects for both fans and media is that known names tend to draw attention due to familiarity. That can be true for specific players or colleges when it comes to draft prospects. If a name is known, it is more comfortable.
One name that hit the market that many fans know is DL Michael Brockers.
Brockers was a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams, now Los Angeles Rams, back in 2012. The 32-year-old interior defensive lineman had some productive seasons with the Rams and helped Aaron Donald become the dominant player that he is.
In nine seasons with St. Louis/Los Angeles, Brockers had 395 tackles, 62 QB hits, 48 tackles for loss and 28 sacks. Unfortunately, due to health, age and surrounding cast, those numbers dropped significantly in the last two years with the Detroit Lions.
For Cleveland, Brockers is a prime example of a player that many know but shouldn’t be added to the team just because he plays at a position of need. At 32, after taking 11 years of pounding inside the defensive line, it is likely that Brockers is well past his prime.
OL Taylor Lewan is another example of a player who many fans know which has led to some thinking the Browns should sign him. His health and play have said otherwise in the last few seasons.
Name and game are not always the same. In the case of Brockers (and Lewan), their game doesn’t match up to the name recognition that they have. Cleveland should pass on anything but a veteran minimum contract for these type of players.