NFL free agency is still a long way away, comparably speaking in NFL terms, but it will be an interesting time for the league. The NFL’s offseason calendar is such an interesting one with the NFL draft dominating coverage starting with the Senior Bowl (and all of Barry’s awesome work).
The NFL combine is next up on the list with a lot of draft-related things in the forefront but free agent discussions and trades talks are going on in the background all week at the end of this month and early March.
Despite all the draft coverage, it is free agency that actually happens first then the draft.
ESPN put out their list of top 50 free agents for this year (subscriber, $). While the Cleveland Browns have some work to do to open up cap space, they do have the ability to be a player in this year’s free agency. They just may not be spending at the top of the market.
It is also important to note that while ESPN’s list is of their top 50 players, it does not predict the players’ contracts. Positional value plays a huge role which is why #15 DT Dre’Mont Jones could get paid more than #10 S Jessie Bates III.
Instead of just reviewing the list, Chris Pokorny, Thomas Moore and Jared Mueller took a look at the list and selected one player they believed is realistic for the Browns to select:
Pokorny - LB David Long
Long is an interesting selection by Chris as new DC Jim Schwartz mentioned him during his introductory press conference. Long is an undersized linebacker that just comes to play and does many things right. Tennessee may not be able to retain him and his knowledge and relationship with Schwartz could be very helpful for the new defense.
Long is #30 on ESPN’s list.
Moore - LB Tremaine Edmunds
More linebacker from Moore with his selection of Edmunds. A completely different type of linebacker at 6’5”, Edmunds has greatly improved in Buffalo since his rookie year. He is better in coverage than he was and can play the run with force.
Edmunds is ranked #17 on ESPN’s list.
Mueller - S Jordan Poyer
While a player like Jones would be really helpful on the defensive line, he will likely be very expensive while the safety position often gets less than expected. Bates is a legitimate option for Cleveland but Poyer might be more realistic. A little older, the former Browns safety is versatile and can work with John Johnson III and/or Grant Delpit quite well.
Poyer is ranked #22 on ESPN’s list.
Of our three options, which would you want the most? Looking through ESPN’s whole list, who do you think is most realistic and helpful to the team?