It’s Annual Freak-Out Time!
Ah, yes – it’s that time of year where fans and media are vilifying the Cleveland Browns for not making every transaction during the open free agency period. I understand that free agency is a part of the NFL season, and all thirty-two teams use it. But to what degree each franchise utilizes this period is what is important. Let’s review what is causing many to display obvious signs of petulance.
No “Big Name” Guys Signed on Day One
Perish the thought that the Cleveland Browns did not acquire Ndamukong Suh or Darrelle Revis, let alone trade for the oft-injured Sam Bradford. I will agree that both of the defenders are tremendous talents; however they will be the highest paid athletes at their position in NFL history. That’s just not smart football – I look
forward to the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets to be extremely financially strapped to make additional moves. The Browns are wise to improve at these spots using diligence.
Yes, Sam Bradford would immediately be an upgrade at the signal caller spot, but I don’t even want to think about what the Browns would have had to surrender to get a guy who will not likely finish the campaign healthy. More than likely, the team will draft a developmental quarterback in the middle rounds of the draft – and work with Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel. Simply put, the risk was too high and the reward was likely not worth it.
Didn’t the Team Prepare Us for this?
Ray Farmer and Jimmy Haslam both said weeks ago that the team was not going to be major players in free agency. So far, they have not – I do not understand the miscommunication by some Browns’ fans and media.
Additionally, what do the Packers, Steelers, Giants, and Ravens all have in common? They are all perennial winners – and they don’t spend like crazy in free agency.
Now what do the Dolphins, Redskins, and Raiders have in common. They tend to lose more than win, and none have made a deep run in the playoffs in decades. Oh yea, and they all spend top dollar in free agency.
Granted the first group has franchise quarterbacks associated with them, while the second does not. The Browns currently are in the second group in terms of not possessing a great signal caller. Therefore, I am content in the team not throwing away gobs of cash at guys who are very expensive and will only make the team marginally better. Until they get their guy under center, the team has little to no shot at success. So why throw away money at other spots, when they can get cheaper players of relatively equal value?
Conclusion: This microwave society is getting out of hand – everyone wants the Browns to get the best guys in the league (who are available) and now. I thought last year’s free agency was excellent – two viable starters were acquired on defense and played well, and I anticipate those types of signings to occur again in 2015.
As far as losing free agents Brian Hoyer, Buster Skrine, Ahtyba Rubin, and possibly Jabaal Sheard and Jordan Cameron – the front office simply did not value them high enough to lock them up long-term. Farmer believes each is not the caliber of athlete as are Joe Haden and Joe Thomas. Could the team be wrong? Of course, but I would like to see some youth brought in during the draft – players with upside who can help the Browns for many years. As far as free agency goes, remember the quote a friend named Aaron once said; “R-E-L-A-X”.