Thursday, March 16, 2017

Krunch Time With Katelin: Browns Free Agency Thoughts

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

Our Cleveland Browns seem to do doing something right...and yeah, I know that sounds crazy. The Browns revamped their offensive line with the signings of J.T. Tretter and Kevin Zeitler, signed wide receiver Kenny Britt, traded for another second round pick (and quarterback Brock Oswieler) and still signed Joel Bitonio to a six year extension.All within the first day of the new league year. Since then its been quiet which is why I thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts on the signings and also wrap-up the Terrelle Pryor situation.

First, I want to hit on the offensive line moves. It seems the Browns have given up on Cam Erving and might only keep him as a utility lineman. Erving's problems isn't because of a lack of effort but it just seems like he really isn't that good. He struggled a multiple positions in his two years with the Browns and it the Browns would rather not trust him as the starting center protecting whoever is the "franchise quarterback".

Tretter is a really good center but has a list of injuries during his short NFL career. Now, they seem to be freak injuries like the MCL one this past year, but its still going to be a risk with him, which is why the Browns won't get rid of Cam Erving so quickly, and won't (in my opinion) have Cam Erving compete for the right tackle position.

The Zeitler move shows the Browns aggressiveness not just in free agency but for this up-coming season. The Browns front office must believe they will have their franchise quarterback on the roster in July. It would seem crazy for the Browns to sign Zeitler to largest contract in league history for a guard and not have an idea who's going to be playing the quarterback position for the majority of this guys' contract. Now, whether its Jimmy Garoppolo or someone they take early in the draft, it really doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that this regime has identified their quarterback and are going to build around him. And it seems like Hue Jackson convinced Zeitler they have a guy in mind and are going to do whatever they can to get that quarterback into a Browns' uniform.

And the Joel Bitonio extension was an obvious good sign that the Browns value their own players highly. And fans can see that with not just Bitonio's extension but Jamie Collins too. Plus, it is good "PR" for the Browns after last off-season with Mitchell Schwartz and his contract debacle.

Signing Kenny Britt was more about not having a hole at receiver if Terrelle Pryor decides to go somewhere else. And the Browns chose a really solid receiver in Britt to be Pryor's replacement. Britt is coming off of a 1000 yard season, a deep threat to open up the field, and also he's a veteran. He's the same age as Pryor but he's not the athletic freak like Pryor. Britt is a veteran so he can lead the Browns receiver room. Not just on the field but off-field too. Britt had to rebuild his career after multiple off the field incidences that lead to him leaving the Tennessee Titans.  

The best move for the Browns was trading for Houston's second round pick in 2018. The Browns traded their own fourth-round compensatory pick this year for a the second round pick, a sixth round pick, and quarterback Brock Osweiler. The brilliant part of this trade was getting the second round 2018 pick and Osweiler. The second round pick is another asset for the Browns to either draft or to be able to trade up for a certain player they like. But also getting Osweiler "kills two birds with one stone". Osweiler can be the backup quarterback, if the Browns decide to redshirt a rookie quarterback. But his $16 Million guaranteed for this season gets the Browns closer to the NFL minimum they need to spend.  

I believe the Browns probably offered Pryor a similar contract to the one Britt received. But Terrelle and his agent thought he could get way more than he ended up getting. Pryor ended up with a 1-year $6 Million "bet on himself" type deal. Not saying it was a bad idea for Pryor, but if he really wanted to stay in Cleveland, he should have just taken the Browns offer. It would have given Pryor his guaranteed money.

Overall, the Browns moves during the start of free agency have been positive on paper. They still have a lot of cap room to add a player or two on the defensive side of the ball. And hopefully re-sign Isaiah Crowell to be their "bell cow" running back lead by their new look offensive line.

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