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Executives talk about Browns overspending on Dalvin Tomlinson; but like acquiring Elijah Moore

Mike Sando of The Athletic polls executives from around the league for their anonymous assessments of free agency.

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In previous years, we’ve seen how Mike Sando of The Athletic posts articles that summarize what anonymous executives are saying about all 32 teams in the NFL following the draft. For example, last year, an executive weighed in on David Bell being a replacement for Jarvis Landry. This year, though, Sando gathered quotes from executives following free agency. Here is what was said about the Cleveland Browns:

Taming Expectations: Overpaying for Dalvin Tomlinson

The first player targeted was DT Dalvin Tomlinson. While an executive agrees that Cleveland had to make the move at this point due to not having high draft picks, they feel that the Browns overpaid because of the team not being the most attractive destination:

“I think they paid the Cleveland tax, a cost of doing business when you are not an attractive destination,” an exec said. “You are not paying for third-down value with Dalvin, but you look at the picks Cleveland has left, it is hard to find a defensive tackle in this year’s draft, so I can understand why they did it, especially in that division.”

It wasn’t just one executive who labeled the Browns as having overspent on Tomlinson, as Sando says that execs “universally called it a premium price.”

Enhancing the WR Group With Elijah Moore

Another executive thought it was wise to bolster the wide receiver position in back-to-back years with Amari Cooper and now Elijah Moore. It gives Cleveland three solid weapons at the receiver position, something that you’d hope Deshaun Watson would be able to take advantage of:

“I love Cleveland, back-to-back years with Elijah and Amari Cooper, getting premium positions, taking advantage of situations where they were able to get them at a discount,” another exec said. “If Deshaun can get back to what he was in Houston, that is a sneaky, dangerous team.”

Taste Around the Division

What about teams in the AFC North? One executive felt that Pittsburgh played it safe with replacement signings in free agency, and are waiting for the draft to make a bigger splash:

“It seemed like they were just plugging holes cheap so they can draft the guys they want,” another exec said, noting that the players Pittsburgh signed seemed to be one-for-one replacements for players they let go. “They have made no mistakes. They have been very safe, which is the M.O. of their franchise as a whole.”

When it comes to the Ravens and QB Lamar Jackson, it’s sort of amusing to read how people understand that Baltimore is in a pickle because they don’t want to pay him a ton of money, but also, Jackson can’t win in the playoffs and is too injury-prone:

“We all agree the player (Jackson) is not able to win in the playoffs (1-3 record), but where is your better answer?” an exec said. “You don’t have one. They should have committed to Lamar two years ago. Instead, they disenfranchised their franchise quarterback? They are the Green Bay of the AFC North, couldn’t have a relationship with the top guy (quarterback).”

And lastly, for the Bengals, executives liked that the Bengals signed OT Orlando Brown, but are also on-the-fence about what position he is best suited for, and how he’s playing on his third team in four years:

“Problem is, I think (Brown) is a right tackle,” another exec said. “I think he played his best football in Baltimore’s system because he was protected. In terms of being a true blue-chip left tackle, I don’t see it. But he could look better in Cincy because Burrow gets the ball out faster than (Patrick) Mahomes.”