Browns and Free Agency
Well, the Cleveland Browns made several moves this offseason – and I feel they made their team much stronger. Giving up the most sacks in the NFL last year was not acceptable and the front office responded. I would like to believe the team will now be able to forget about departed Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz from 2016 and have a new cast upfront that can keep the pocket clean, as well as open holes for Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. Let’s look further into the acquisitions.
The highest paid guard in NFL history now resides in Cleveland. The injury to John Greco at the end of last season might to have helped facilitate this move, as the veteran’s health status remains up in the air. Zeitler should help the Browns’ running attack tremendously – which will benefit the guy under center (whoever it is).
He’s had a bit of an injury history, but provided he remains healthy with the orange and brown – they might have found Cam Erving’s replacement. I would expect Tretter to hold his own in the middle; being surrounded by Zeitler and Joel Bitonio will assist the new acquisition. This is an under-the-radar pick up, but one I fully support.
The Cleveland Browns secured either a number two or three wide out on this roster with the signing of veteran Kenny Britt. Like Terrelle Pryor, the former L.A. Ram hauled in over 1,000 yards in 2016. While this is not a high-end signing (as he should average 750 yards and three touchdowns), the wideout should help improve the wide receiving unit more than Andrew Hawkins did. Britt’s size of 6’3” is something that should not be taken lightly – a large target for a quarterback is a great thing. More depth should be added at this position in the draft. I understand he has had his person issues earlier in his career, but he appears now as a better locker room guy than they athlete who departed for Washington DC.
Buying a second round draft pick for $16 Million (or about $8.5 Million after you remove Robert Griffin’s salary – due to his release) makes a ton of sense. The Browns have a bit more flexibility when it comes to assets to trade and still have a possible guy to trade (in Brock) for additional selections. It will be interesting to see what comes after this deal – but making this shrewd decision was brilliant. The Browns are ahead of the curve and this type of transaction is foreign to the sport (but not the NBA).
Conclusion: I like what the Browns have done to this point – they solidified their offensive line and acquired additional opportunities down the road. The contract extension for Joe Bitonio was included in this – as he should be back to solid form once he becomes fully healthy. The biggest question remains is where will they get their quarterback?