At this point it’s all immaterial. The Browns have $45 million in salary cap room and they either can’t, won’t or were told not to expend any of it on a veteran leader.
Where will the money go?
Well, some will go to a kicker and a punter to replace Reggie Hodges. Need would point to a cornerback opposite Joe Haden (Chris Gamble anyone?) and 3-4 outside linebackers.
Lots of rumors have the Browns interested in Baltimore outside pass rusher Paul Kruger. The rumors make sense, given it’s a need and it would weaken a division rival.
The name of Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril has surfaced, but Avril is a 4-3 end and the Browns are playing a 3-4 system.
The team wants to bring in a quarterback to compete with Brandon Weeden, but the trade of Alex Smith to Kansas City and the Dolphins re-signing of Matt Moore leaves the free agent choices slim, at best. Guys like Chase Daniel, Brian Hoyer (a restricted free agent) or Jason Campbell are among the better options, which pretty much indicates the rumored trade for Ryan Mallett of New England won’t go away any time soon.
How the Browns operate in free agency will be fascinating to watch, and will provide a blueprint for the Jimmy Haslam-Joe Banner era.
Cleveland’s excess of cap space has most predicting it will spend lavishly. That has rarely worked in Cleveland, or elsewhere, but the fact it doesn’t work never stops teams from doing it.
Conversely, new owner Jimmy Haslam has downplayed a spending spree, stating repeatedly that the team will build through the draft.
It’s a logical approach that has been proven in places like Pittsburgh, Baltimore and most recently Cincinnati.
Free agency and the draft always prove to be the most exciting and interesting time of the year for Browns fans.
Which unfortunately sums up their reality as the NFL news cycle marches on.