Predicting the 5 Biggest Free Agent Moves for the Cleveland Browns
Predicting The 5 Biggest Free Agent Moves For The Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns had some of the best young talent in the NFL in 2013, but did not accumulate the wins that equal the talent. After going 3-2 to start the season, the Browns lost 10 of their next 11 games to finish 4-12. Head coach Rob Chudzinski was fired along with team president Joe Banner and GM Michael Lombardi. The new head coach is Mike Pettine and the new offensive coordinator is Kyle Shanahan, who brought over his share of baggage from last season with the Washington Redskins.
Last year, the Browns made some good moves. The team signed linebacker Paul Kruger away from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, traded for Miami Dolphins receiver Davone Bess and signed veteran quarterback Jason Campbell. The team also made some questionable moves by trading away 2012 top three pick in Trent Richardson and signing journeyman running back Willis McGahee. Given the turmoil surrounding this franchise, the team is a long ways to go until being considered playoff contenders.
The Browns' defense was not the problem as the unit posted respectable numbers in spite of a porous offense. The major offseason goal is to re-design the Browns' offense and to bring in a franchise quarterback capable of pulling the Browns out of their previous QB nightmares.
The Browns and their fan base should first concern themselves with being relevant instead of playoff aspirations. With the losing streak that marred a great start, the Browns have plenty of issues that are more than the front office crisis. If the Browns can get decent quarterback play and can rely on their good defense, the Browns can be a spoiler to most teams, but actions speak louder than words.
The team still needs to make major moves to stay competitive in the AFC North. Positions of need will hopefully be filled in free agency, although nothing with the Browns can be guaranteed. These five players, either current Browns or other teams' free agents, will help the Browns gain respectability in 2014.
5. Santana Moss
Familiarity breeds contempt as Washington wide receiver Santana Moss would be a great fit in Cleveland. While not the sexiest name on the free agent board, Moss can bring veteran leadership to a young and talented receiving corps and knows new coordinator Kyle Shanahan's system.
Moss's work in the slot will help whoever wins the starting quarterback job in Cleveland in 2014. Moss would replace Bess as the wide receiver is playing his way out of Cleveland due to embarrassing off-field concerns.
4. T.J. Ward
One of the Browns few high priority free agents, safety T.J. Ward may be too expensive to keep in Cleveland this summer, but Ward made the Pro Bowl last year. Ward's veteran leadership and hard-hitting style would continue to work in Cleveland on a very good defense.
3. Jairus Byrd
Along with Ward, Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd is among the best safeties in this free agency class. Byrd starred in new head coach Mike Pettine's defense in Buffalo and his playmaking ability would vastly improve a good secondary.
Whether Byrd is paired with Ward in Cleveland or replaces Ward, the playmaking safety can do it all.
2. Alex Mack
Re-signing Alex Mack is the Browns' biggest in-house priority this season. The Pro Bowl center is one of the best young offensive linemen in the league right now and one of the best players on Cleveland's roster.
1. Ben Tate
The Browns desperately need a franchise running back since trading away Trent Richardson last season. Backup running back Ben Tate of the Houston Texans is the obvious choice here for the Browns next franchise running back. Tate does not have the wear and tear that McGahee has and the Texans under a new coaching staff will not give Tate what he wants.
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