Redskins Purge Draft Picks, Earn Rights To RG(Cubed)

I have been calling RGIII, “RG(Cubed)” and now it has more than one meaning…you can add being the first draft pick to have three first round picks given up for the right to draft him to the list. What do you think of the Redskins decision to move up?

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Franchise Quarterbacks, The Sad Side Of Success

Recent reports seem to indicate what has been speculated all off season. Peyton Manning will not be payed the $28 million option to remain a Colt in 2012. It seems unfair that quarterback greats often end their careers with such a fall from grace. This isn’t the first time and most likely won’t be the last time a business decision trumps the good a player has done for an organization.

In 1993, Bill Belichick learned a lesson on how not to handle a beloved local athlete.  He dropped Bernie Kosar from the team after a week 8 performance in which Bernie apparently ignored plays called by the coaching staff and threw a touchdown off of a play that he told the media was “drawn up in the dirt.” Bernie went on to play for Dallas and Miami picking up a Super Bowl ring with Dallas in Super Bowl 28.

Joe Montana was traded by the 49ers to the Kansas City Chiefs to make room for Steve Young in 1993. Montana led the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game and Young led the 49ers to the NFC Championship game but neither team made it to that years Super Bowl. Montana’s second year in Kansas City ended with a playoff loss and he then retired.

The not so same story happened years later when Brett Favre retired from the Packers, then unretired and was traded to the Jets as the Packers had decided to move forward with Aaron Rodgers. He then retired again only to unretire to play for the Vikings. It is believed that he is and will stay retired but if he unretires I will update this post accordingly.

Dan Marino’s only Super Bowl appearance ended in a loss to Joe Montana’s 49ers in Super Bowl 19.  He retired after the 1999 season due to health reasons after the Miami Dolphins declined the option on his contract. The greatest quarterback to never win a Super Bowl. It just doesn’t seem right.

Jim Kelly lost four consecutive Super Bowls. Possibly the most impressive feat you would not want to accomplish. While he ended his career with the team in which he started, the Buffalo Bills, the Super Bowlless greats all have a special place in my heart.

Otto Graham is arguable the best quarterback to ever set foot on a football field. The sad part of it is you need a historian present for anyone to remember, let alone acknowledge the amazing career he had playing with the Cleveland Browns. He played ten seasons and made the championship game all ten years winning seven of those games. More impressive is, after retiring after winning the 1954 championship game 56-10 over the Lions, Otto Graham was convinced to come back by then coach Paul Brown during the 1955 training camp. He went on to win the NFL Championship against the Los Angeles Rams 38-14. The sad part of the story is that this was over a decade before the first Super Bowl. Most peoples’ football knowledge only goes back as far as the 1966 season when Bart Starr led the Green Bay Packers to the first Super Bowl victory on January 15th 1967.

The one example that sticks out to me of a quarterback great going out on top is John Elway winning superbowl 33 against the Atlanta Falcons,  34-19. Now, I know he prevented the Browns from reaching the Super Bowl 2 of his 5 visits to the big game but you have to respect a man who ends on his term on the top of the summit.

With all of the history behind great quarterbacks being treated unjustly in the business of football it begs the question, are the Browns searching for a franchise quarterback’s heart to break after ten years of services rendered? If it involves Super Bowls and record breaking stats I will pay for the therapy sessions after the break up.

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If Browns Want RG(Cubed) No Need To Trade Up, Plus More Draft Talk

Seems like everyone from the Media to local fans are clawing and scratching to get Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL Draft. They are so caught up in the draft hype that comes around every March that they are more than willing to give up the Browns first two or three rounds worth of picks to get the “next best thing”  to come out of the draft.

A source for the Browns has now revealed they are not currently willing to give up the #22 pick in the draft. At this point it is a chess game and I think if Griffin is their target, the Browns can land a check mate with the right moves.

It has been assumed the Browns have the upper hand over other teams interested in trading up for Robert Griffin III. First off they have the highest pick (#4) out of the competing teams and second they have two first round picks (#22). I believe they can get away with not having to even trade for the pick and here is how.

The Browns can trump any offer the other teams make so they can essentially hold the Rams hostage with the prospect of a better package. If not until the draft at least until some of the competition clears. If Manning is let go I can see the Redskins(#6) and Cardinals(#13) making a real push for his services. If the Redskins land Manning then the Rams may not be willing to trade down that far in the first round and the over all price tag may scare away Arizona. Then if Matt Flynn lands in Miami(#8) that really leaves Seattle(#12) as the only competition. The Rams may decide no package is worth landing a franchise quarterback to a division rival and just take their player at #2 with Blackmon or Kalil. This leaves the possibility that RG(cubed) slips to the Browns in the draft.

This was my initial thought in December, that the first three off the board would be Luck, Kalil and Blackmon. Back then, before the hype, I was pretty excited about this prospect. Not because we could grab a great QB to place on an empty offense, no I was excited because the power to trade down would be ours. We would be able to grab a #1 pick in the 2013 draft along with possible 2nd or 3rd round picks to add to our endless list of needs. Now that I have lost you all I will go onto the wish list of needs. A list of things we really need on the Browns that could be found with the three or four picks so many of you are hoping the Browns trade for RGIII.

WISH LIST OF NEEDS

Two Wide Receivers, Right Tackle, Running Back, Cornerback, Linebacker and maybe even a Defensive Lineman.

Tell you what, take care of that list and you can trade what every you want for RG(Next three years worth of picks) but until then adding a “franchise rookie” isn’t going to get us very far. Unless you like 6 win seasons but if that is the case why not just start cheering for the Panthers.

My Wish List Draft (This is not taking into account additions in free agency or trading the #4 pick up or down, this is based on the team as it currently stands)

#4 – Morris Claiborne – CB LSU – While the Browns definitely need to start working on the offensive side of the ball in the draft, Claiborne helps solidify the progress that has been made defensively over the past two years. This move would allow Sheldon Brown to move over to Safety and create one of the toughest backfields in the NFL with Joe Haden and T.J. Ward leading the cause.

#22 – Kendall Wright – WR Baylor – The Browns have one of the worst groups of wide receivers in the NFL. Hopefully going into the draft the Browns have picked up at least one veteran wideout to help lead a new group into 2012. Kendall Wright would be a great addition to the Browns to learn along with Greg Little from a veteran free agency addition. Wide receiver is definitely an area of huge concern, what better place to round out the position than the #22 overall pick in the draft.

#37 – Mike Adams – OT Ohio State – The right side of the line was a revolving door in 2011 and the Browns need someone to slam that door shut! Mike Adams would be the classic hometown player hailing from Dublin, OH and attending The Ohio State University in the heart of Columbus. The Browns may need to trade up to grab him but they do have 7 picks including this one left at this point in the draft so I am sure a deal can be worked out.

As for the 3rd through 7th round picks, it would be great if in two years we had two or three solid starters out of these picks. Since the Browns return in 1999 the only solid starter that jumps out to me after the second round in Andra Davis, LB from Florida drafted in the 5th round in 2002. If you think I missed someone check the list here and leave a comment.

 

 

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Peyton In Up Hillis Battle Against Media

In 2010 a young man came along that captured the hearts of Cleveland Brown fans everywhere. He ran with the brute blue-collar attitude that Cleveland was built on. He made the Pro-Bowl as an alternative and graced the Madden cover. A headline on AOL.News read, “Peyton Hillis Means More to Browns Than Pro Bowl Voters Ever Imagined.” Things seemed to be looking up for this young man. Then came 2011.

It all seemed to start to build up when talks of a long term contract shed light that what the Browns were willing to pay for Hillis’s services and what Hillis was expecting were far from close. It would probably take the course of the season to assess the situation and come to an agreement. At the time, my contention was that it would be a smart business move for the Browns to sit tight and see how things played out. If Hillis did not repeat the success of 2010 then the Browns could sign him to a long term contract at a discounted rate, possibly less than they were willing to pay him at the beginning of the season. If Hillis put up another monster season the Browns had the availability of the Franchise Tag to secure him for at least another year while a long term contract was agreed upon.

For some reason the Brown’s decision to not sign Hillis before the season turned into Peyton’s wrong doing. The local media seemed to make this the topic of discussion and honed in on it all season. Through constant questions about his lack of a contract, Peyton missed a game with strep throat under advice from his now fired agent in week three, split carries with Hardesty 10 to 7 in week 4, injured his hamstring the following game against Oakland and then went to Arkansas to get married 9 days later. In the middle of all of this the Browns veterans were said to have had an intervention style meeting with Hillis to try and get everyone on the same page.

Hillis though all of this drama ended the season on a high note have solid games at the end of the season including a 112 yard performance in week 16 against the Baltimore Ravens. Hillis then fired the agent that had led him astray through 2010 and was unable to put together a contract with the team Hillis wants to play for most, the Cleveland Browns. It seems as though things are working out for the Browns and Hillis to revisit contract talks and get a long term deal put together.

That has not stopped the media, locally and nationally from heckling the once loved now troubled running back during the off season. First it was the firing of his third agent in a year that was spun as a negative by media outlets without mentioning it was the agent hired before the 2010 season that handled things so poorly during “Strep Gate”. Then it was the misinformation presented that Peyton Hillis wanted to retire from the NFL to join the CIA. This character attack made Peyton sound, in his words, “insane.” It has been since speculated that Peyton’s fired agent may have been the source of this story. Shame on you Adam Schefter if this was indeed your source. Taking the word of a scored ex-employee as fact!

In a few days a new agent will be hired and free agency will begin. It has been a long year from, “Peyton Hillis Means More to Browns Than Pro Bowl Voters Ever Imagined” to “Peyton Hillis Believer in Madden Curse” but 2012 holds new opportunities. At the end of the day Hillis is a solid running back that loves playing in Cleveland and the Cleveland Browns have too many holes on an offense they are working to rebuild to allow another hole to open up. In a few weeks we will see if the business decision the Browns made in August 2011 pays off in March 2012.

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Draft Day Excitement Continues…

There are a lot of ideas going around of what the Browns might do in the 2012 NFL Draft with picks #4 and #22 in the first round. One thing is for sure, the Browns front office is being vague at best when it comes to who they are targeting.

Head Coach Pat Shurmur added some speculation to what might happen when he made these comments. “We have some flexibility. We have a lot of picks, and a lot of the experts think that they might be valuable, so we’ll see. I think we need to approach this thing from a position of strength and do what we can to make our roster better, so that’s how we’ll approach it.”

However you want to read that be my guest. Lets see what everyone else would choose to do given the same circumstances.

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Wide Out Corp in Desperate Need of Makeover

Greg Little, Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs and Carlton Mitchell are the current starters listed for the Cleveland Browns at the wide receiver position. That adds up to 1642 yards and 8 touchdowns. Just to put that into perspective, Detroit’s Calvin Johnson pulled in 1681 yards and 16 touchdowns. Needless to say the Browns need help at wide receiver. The question is where will that help come from. Free agency seems to be the logical choice with so many top notch wide receivers ready to hit the market March 13th.

Keep Dreaming: There are some players on the market that get fans really excited but when reality settles in there is little to no chance the Browns are in the market for these players.

DeSean Jackson: There has been speculation that the Browns would be able to add DeSean Jackson due to the loose association that the Browns current GM, Tom Heckert, drafted him. Reality is the Eagles will either resign him or use their franchise tag to keep this talented young wideout on their roster.

Dwayne Bowe: Here is another talent that will be secured with the use of a franchise tag. Although I have him at the bottom of the “Keep Dreaming” wide receivers available. In my free agency dream Bowe comes to the party last and I never even notice he is there until he is leaving back to KC.

Marques Colston: By far my favorite of the “Keep Dreaming” receivers. He shows up to my house party and I somehow get him to do a shots with me. However I annoy the shit out of him with my talk of the pre-NFL championships and my comparisons to him and Webster Slaughter and he heads back to Mardi Gras for a bigger less annoying party scene.

Wes Welker and Reggie Wayne: Sorry but unless Tom Brady or Peyton Manning are wearing Brown and Orange in 2012 these guys won’t be scoring any touchdowns as a Brown anytime soon.

Don’t Want Them

Laurent Robinson: A third round pick from 1997, I am not ready to jump on the band wagon after one good season. I feel the talent currently on the team can take care of that third wide receiver spot while we focus on more consistent talent.

Mario Manningham: Again, great year but the Browns need talent to take over the squad and lead the other guys at the wide receiver position. I am not confident a guy who followed behind two other guys in 2011 is ready to step out of the shadows longer than it takes to cash that big check.

Mike Wallace: Not sure that bringing in the enemy is really the level to sink to here. The Steelers will probably work something out to get this guy back for 2012 and I would rather see Haden crush him over the middle than see a back fire in a player from the other side.

Vincent Jackson: I have seen the way he acted when he did not get his way in the past. My advice, stay out of Cleveland because the cops are dieing to collect cash from rich athletes boozing and cruising the city.

Already Had Them: This is just a fun little jab at guys driving fancy cars that Randy Lerner bought them. Braylon Edwards and Donte Stallworth, you are welcome but you are not welcome back. Good day!

That’s What I’m Talking About…

Robert Meachem: Here is a young talent who has learned from one of the best in Brees and has the knowledge to spread among a crop of young wide receivers. He would demand some money but nothing like his counterpart in New Orleans, Marques Colston. I think this would be a great addition and possible #1 wideout for the Browns.

Pierre Garcon: Garcon put up 947 yards and pulled in 6 touchdowns while sharing the field with Reggie Wayne while Peyton Manning was out in 2011. His last three years in the league have been consistent and he has again learned from one of the best combos in Manning and Wayne how to play the position in the NFL. Garcon on the Browns would be an excellent addition and spread the field for the rest of the offense.

Danny Amendola: While a restricted free agent, if the Rams do not put a tender of 2nd or 1st round on him he main be available. I can see him worth a low cost risk if the Browns can sign him without a tender attachment. Coming off an injured elbow in 2011, Amendola could have a lot of upside for little compensation and be a solid fixture at the #2 wide receiver position.

Draft: Lastly the 2012 NFL Draft has a good crop of options coming out in the first two rounds. It just so happens that the Browns have several picks in the first four rounds that could be used to grab some talent in this depleted position. Regardless of our draft results if a veteran free agent has not been added at wide receiver the growing pains could make for another rough year for whoever plays quarter back for the Browns in 2012.

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Recipe For Success: Build The Team Then Add The Quarterback

The 2012 NFL Draft is not until April but that has not stopped the buzz around who will trade up to get Robert Griffin III. He has done nothing but impress so far and the value to trade up to get him has sky rocketed. It looks like there will be no other scenario besides trading with St. Louis at #2 to grab this potential franchise quarterback. The Redskins had been rumored willing to trade this years first, second and third round along with 2013’s first round pick to move up to get him. This would force the Browns to give up the #4, #22, second round and third round picks to get RG(cubed). Four picks on one player. Four potential starters for a franchise quarterback. To me it makes no sense and this is why.

Free agency has not yet started but when it does the Browns should be making some moves. At the very least they can be expected to grab an experienced wide receiver. It would be Christmas in March if they added two wide receivers, some offensive linemen, a linebacker and cornerback. If they do not use their franchise tag or resign Peyton Hillis bringing in a RB would be a priority as well. If free agency is taken full advantage of this year, as management as hinted it will add this vital piece of the puzzle to the equation this year, the Browns will have a lot more room in the draft. Free agency however, is another article all together.

Trading all four picks to get RGIII is fine and dandy but that will not result in the playoffs or even a .500 record. Look at Carolina, they got a great QB in the draft, he put up huge numbers, but they only won 6 games because they did not have a complete team. The defense could not hold the other team from scoring and the offensive was run on Cam Newton carrying them to the goal line every drive. The below scenario sets up the Browns to one, assess fairly and honestly the quarterback talent that Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace have and two, if those two are not able to run an NFL team to the playoffs puts the Browns in a position to bring in a QB through the draft in 2013 that comes into a more complete team.

In free agency at the very least the Browns need to bring in one wide receiver and one offensive lineman. In the draft I can see a team trading up to the #2 spot from the Rams and grabbing RGIII. The price tag will be way to steep for the Browns to pay and they will sit tight. While everyone moans and whines that we didn’t get RGIII the Browns will be busy working a trade. They trade down to the Rams at #6 or where ever they are sitting so that the Rams can come back up and grab Justin Blackmon giving the Browns more picks. The Browns then pick up Claiborne or Coples with their first pick, a wide receiver with their second (#22) and use their second round pick to grab an offensive lineman. This scenario brings the possibility of the Rams trading the Browns a 2013 first rounder to move up giving the Browns the necessary weapons to move up next year to get the QB they desire once a team has been built to add them too.

If this years draft and free agency go well the Browns could have a top defense and a much improved offense to add a QB to in 2013. Look, I get it, people want the Browns to win NOW, so do I but I also want them to win for the next ten plus years and building a team through the draft is the best way to accomplish that. Giving up four picks for one player really sets you back another year in accomplishing that goal.

Everyone wants their QB today but this year probably isn’t the year you are going to get him. Free agency offers little help.

Peyton Manning only has three or four years left in the league and that is if he recovers from four next surgeries. Joe Montana actually took the Chiefs to the AFC Championship his first year (1993) with the Chiefs, but do you really think Manning could take this squad with their wide receiver corp to the playoffs let alone the AFC Championship? Who would be our Reggie Wayne or Pierre Garcon? Maybe he does get us to the playoffs but earlier I mentioned and was serious about a long term winning streak. Peyton is a short term solution. By the time we get our team built up for Peyton he will be coaching.

Matt Flynn is an exciting prospect. Please see Matt Cassel and Kevin Kolb’s contributions to incomplete teams after excelling on teams with a solid foundation. Do you really think Colt McCoy couldn’t win games with Green Bays players and system? This doesn’t seem to be the answer.

Pretty much every other quarterback that will be available would be brought in for competition and then watching from the bench. Mainly because the offense isn’t set to bring in “The Guy” yet. Lets build up this team, create a solid foundation and if McCoy can’t handle it we get “The Guy” in 2013. Matt Barkley has a nice ring but I am sure the hype machines will have a few other guys available as well.

 

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