Browns and Free Agency

The Browns weren’t as busy as they were last year in free agency but still made some significant signings. Donte Whitner/Hitner was signed to a 4 year/$28mil dollar deal. He will replace TJ Ward at Strong Safety as her decided to signed for discounted rate of $22mil over 4years with Denver. This is far less than he would have accepted from the Browns but Denver also made the Superbowl last year. MLB Karlos Dansby also signed on a front loaded 4 year $24mil dollar deal with $10mil due in the first year. Although the Browns did take some criticism for what was seen as replacing DQwell Jackson with an older player I prefer to see him as an upgrade over Craig Robinson with Jackson’s eventual replacement coming through this years draft. The Browns also to took steps to fix one of the worst run games last year in the league by signing Ben Tate to a very cap friendly 2yr/$7m deal. This was surprisingly good for the top RB on the market as he was expected to asking for starters money but instead was got on this good “prove-it” deal. Shows how deflated the RB market was as well that he was got for so little and how players like MJD struggled to get deals.
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Alex Mack still remains a Brown despite all the teams in the league having the opportunity to top Cleveland’s offer but $10m price tag appears to have scared everyone off with only little bits of interest coming from the Colts and Ravens.

Other notes on Free Agency

-John Elway really appears to have put all his eggs in the Peyton Manning basket as he spent $128m on improving last years SB loser signing several key defensive players in TJ Ward, DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib while he also signed Eric Deckers replacement in Emanuel Sanders.

-Age doesn’t appear to scare teams when it comes to pass rushers as we saw Jared Allen, Julius Peppers and DeMarcus Ware all got large deals from contenders.

-The Saints somehow found the cap space to sign Jarius Byrd to a 6yr/$54m despite not being able to sign a deal with Jimmy Graham because of cap space issues.

-Rex Ryan was disappointed not to sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie after he was in the building and especially now that he signed with cross town rivals Giants.

-There was controversy over the signing of Emmanuel Sanders who verbally committed to the Chiefs before signing with divisional rivals Broncos.

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Derek Carr

Fresno QB Derek Carr is to have a private workout with Browns today. The Bulldogs QBs draft stock has been on the rise recently after an impressive pro day and combine. The brother of former number one overall pick David Carr, he threw for 50 TDs and 5000 yards in Fresno’s pass friendly system last year and was named Mountain West player of the year. Considered by many to be the most natural thrower in the league Cleveland appears to want to select a non QB at #4 and wait and try and get Carr with their second pick at #26. If the draft was a month ago there would little doubt he would be available but now with rising draft stock and several teams like the Raiders and the Cardinals interested it may not be as straightforward. The Raiders sent their entire Front Office to Carr’s proday and Cards HC Bruce Arians said recently at the coachs meeting in Orlando that Carr was up their with top QBs like Bortles, Manziel and Bridgewater. If they need to trade their second pick the Browns have plenty of ammunition with extra 3rd and 4th round picks.
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Farewell D’Qwell

With D’Qwell Jackson officially signing with Colts today on a 4 year/$22m, I’d like to say a final goodbye and thank you to D’Qwell. One the premier MLB in the league over the last couple of years it was a shame to see that Cleveland couldn’t work out a deal with him and had to release him for cap reasons. A tireless worker who was simply a tackling machine, he never really got the reward for his years of service, only being on a winning team once way back in 2007. He lead the Browns in tackles for several years and was also the Defensive Captain. He really was one of the Browns best players since 1999, he was a great servants and Cleveland will miss the leadership and ability to be everywhere on the pitch. Interesting sidenote, with D’Qwell gone, Joe Thomas is left as the only player to have been on a winning Browns team.
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