A month ago I was hopeful the Browns would add a veteran presence to the wide out corp, or should I say lack of one. My top choice would have been Pierre Garcon who learned under Peyton Manning and still put up great numbers in 2011 when Peyton did not play. Robert Meachem would have been a nice addition. Drew Brees surely was a good influence on him in New Orleans. Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson and Marques Colston were other huge names at the position that would possibly be available. At the end of the day none of them signed with Cleveland. Whether it was for a lack of trying or the refusal to pay out huge contracts the Browns sat idle and are now left with few choices, if they are even still shopping.
In 2011 A.J. Green was picked #4 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals and received a 4 year, $19.6 million contract. Julio Jones was then picked #6 overall and ended up with a 4 year, $16.2 million contract. Why is this relevant? The Browns have the #4 and #22 picks in the 2012 draft and chances are a receiver will be taken with one of those picks or somewhere in between if they trade down. If you compare that to what it cost for a free agent you can see the Browns are saving their resources to build the team as efficiently as possible.
Pierre Garcon signed this off season with the Redskins for 5 years, $42.5 million. For that money you could have A.J. Green and Julio Jones both on your team! Which would you rather have? Pierre Garcon or A.J. Green and Julio Jones? Robert Meachem was a little less extreme at 4 years, $25.90 million but you are still paying him an extra year if not more worth of salary for similar talent.Then you get into players like Vincent Jackson who signed with the Buccaneers for five-year, $55.5 million and you can see the price tag these players hold. So I get it, although disappointing, the Browns are playing it coy while adding pieces for Colt. They have time for redemption in the upcoming draft. But who might they still add in free agency? The pickings are slim.
Danny Amendola – RFA – St. Louis Rams
This is an interesting situation. If the Browns wanted to sign Danny they would have to give up a 2nd round draft pick for the rights. Talks now are that the Rams and Browns may be trading partners in the upcoming draft for the Rams to move up to #4 from #6 so they could draft Justin Blackmon. If they give up Amendola to move up, as many figure the Browns would get a 2nd round pick for the move, the Browns get a wide receiver and still are able to target Trent Richardson or Maurice Claiborne. Interesting situation here.
Mike Wallace – RFA – Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Wallace would be fun to have on the Browns but the cost is way to high for the Browns front office to make a move. He would cost the first round pick which would be the 4th overall choice in the draft and demand a huge contract. Neither seem to be on the list of things Holmgren and Heckert are willing to do at this point.
Legedu Naanee – UFA – Carolina Panthers
Legedu would not be the caliber player to fill the void at the #1 spot in the wideout corp but still a knowledgeable veteran that could help the team for the right price. Still not a viable long term solution, which is what you would think the Browns are looking for.
Roscoe Parrish – UFA – Buffalo Bills
A second round pick in 2005, Roscoe has yet to develop into the caliber player you might want as even a #2 but the Browns are desperate at the position. Parrish is also coming off a season ending injury endured in week 2 of the 2011 season. He could come cheap with a chip on his shoulder trying to prove himself. It wouldn’t be the worst signing.
Jerome Simpson – UFA – Cincinnati Bengals
Jerome would be a nice addition to the Browns when you look at his stats from 2011. 50 receptions, 725 yards and 4 touchdowns playing behind A.J. Green. Not too bad. But wait, what is that? Oh ya, he is a drug dealer. I forgot about the two and a half pounds of marijuana he got caught being mailed to him and the other six pounds worth of sweet ganja they found in his house. As one might expect, the Browns would have to be high to sign this guy.
Plaxico Burress – UFA – NY Jets
Plaxico Burress once shot himself in the leg and that is exactly what the Browns would be doing to themselves if they wasted any money on this wasted talent.
Roy Williams – UFA – Chicago Bears
The bears liked Williams so much they went out and traded for Brandon Marshall. Something tells me that between Roy’s age, his lack of production and the huge amount of money he has gotten in the past he might just sit this year out and enjoy life for a while. Oh and don’t forget, he was the guy who sent a $76,000 engagement ring along with a taped proposal to his then girlfriend, Brooke Daniels, the 2009 Miss Texas USA, in the mail then tried suing her to get it back. The ring, not the tape. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, the Browns can do better.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh – UFA – Oakland Raiders
If Carson Palmer and the Raiders don’t want to sign him why should anyone else? Housh hasn’t been the same since his 2007 campaign with the Bengals when he put up 1143 yards and 12 touchdowns. It has been downhill from there through three teams other than the Bengals. The Browns shouldn’t make themselves the fourth.
Braylon Edwards – Released – San Fransisco 49ers
Ahh our old friend Braylon. How have you been? Injury plagued, unproductive and rich? Just they way you were when we last saw you in Cleveland. I know LeBron and his buddies are no longer running the town to pick on you but I don’t think you will find it a very welcome atmosphere. Below are the quotes about Cleveland from Braylon and his mother after he was traded to the Jets.
“There’s nothing going on in Cleveland,” Edwards told the Times. “There’s no real estate. There’s no social life, no social networking. All the people who have something going on leave Cleveland. So Cleveland has nothing, and I came in there with a New York-type of essence. So what? That was the attitude I came in with. Like, this is who I am. They didn’t like the flash.”
His mother, Malesa Plater, told the paper: “He came from a team that was always looking for a savior to a team that knows how to win. No one would understand what he’s been through unless you’ve been drowning.”
Ya, drowning in hundred dollar bills!
The Browns have paid this guy enough money and neither side would probably talk contract anyways. In the end Braylon did send 79 Cleveland area youth to college through a promise made in 2007 through his ADVANCE 100 Program. Good work Braylon, you spent some of your wealth trying to maintain your image and Cleveland knows more than any city that is what dicks do. Guess you and LeBron have more in common than you thought.