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Looking good.

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 9.33.55 AM



We’re pretty happy with how the first day of free agency has shaken out.

While it’s not the direction suggested here, it’s most encouraging that there seems to be a plan.


Here’s a more flattering jpeg for Desmond Bryant. Click to enlarge.

No quibbling here over Kruger vs. Avril.

No problem grabbing a DE in free agency versus draft.  Especially DEs who rate out like this (see at left).

Didn’t like the move to a 3-4 but have to say the personnel assemblage has been impressive.

4.43, 6’1″, 40″ vert, 34″ arms.
Why haven’t you heard of Xavier Rhodes?

In fact, we’re ecstatic that the holes we saw are being plugged and that the jibber jabber about ‘needing two starting WRs‘ was just so much crap from the PD’s lead Browns reporter.

Back later with an update to this post and some comments on how these signings change the draft priorities and will explore a couple scenarios.



Spoiler:  Xavier Rhodes is a name to get familiar with.


PS:  how about a round of applause for Tom Heckert for the way he managed this cap?



PPS:  Conversely, and as was pointed out a month ago:  Ozzie Newsome is an idiot.  A lucky idiot.  But an idiot.



  1. Wait why isn’t the Weeden circle flourescent pink blingeed out with a siren?

  2. dan says:

    You know, I don’t think I’ll give Heckert a round of applause for managing the cap.

    There’s not winning games and getting into a salary cap mess, which is clearly the worst possible situation. And then there’s winning games and not getting into a mess, which is the best possible situation. But of the two remaining scenarios — winning games but having salary cap problems, and not winning games but managing the cap — well, the former is clearly preferable to the latter, at least for fans. Ultimately, Heckert took over a five win team, and after three years, left a five win team. I remain unimpressed, even if he did manage to tread water without tying the team up with unpleasant contracts.

    The NFL has seen teams with worse situations, both from a talent situation and a cap situation, improve by more than zero wins per year in a lot less than three years. Indeed, showing some kind of improvement in wins in year one or year two is the NFL norm, and waiting until year four to ascend from five wins to six is the exception.

    • jimkanicki says:

      oh heckert’s a mixed bag for sure. seems like for every ‘wow, the phil taylor pick was good’ moment there’s a ‘oh yeah, he gave up justin houston to trade up for him.’

      the ‘ballsy sticking to your guns’ trait cuts both ways: well done on john hughes; wtf on montario hardesty.

      still… on the cap, _that_ can be measured empirically. it’s clear he not only managed it superlatively, it seems probable that he fore-saw the number of teams in cap hell this year and uniquely positioned the browns to take advantage of it.

      w.r.t. to wins, that pat shurmur was both a horrible head coach and incompetent OC does not accrue to heckert. shurmur was holgrum’s friend’s nephew, not heckert’s friend’s nephew.

      • dan says:

        I don’t hold Hardesty against Heckert. You draft a group of players, you expect a certain percentage to fail, a certain percentage to fall to injury, a certain percentage to become solid players and a certain percentage to become stars. I’m less concerned with the identity of the particular person who falls into category 2 than the fact that nobody he drafted seems to have reached category 4. At least as of yet.

        But with regard to wins: that’s how you measure success in the NFL. “Success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan”, but Heckert agreed to or accepted that Shurmur coaching would be how the team he assembled would accumulate wins, so 14 in 3 years is Heckert’s final, pitiful number as GM, full stop, no asterisks.

        • I’ve said before that we (most of us) have given Heckert more credit simply because he was competent under the Lerner/Holmgren sham and actually drafted some decent starters. That being said, there was probably a ceiling to Heckert’s talent – as in, could you really see him draft a real franchise QB or a true offensive playmaker or even a game changing pass rusher?

          Of course, I don’t want to fall into the trap of suggesting that the “new guy” Lombardi will. Free Agency is kind of easy compared to the draft.

          However, in a bit of a defense and condemnation of Heckert – yesterday showed two things:

          1) The Browns’ coaching was probably the worst in the league – on BOTH sides. Basically, Jauron’s legacy was shredded yesterday and will probably continue to be cut up in the coming days. And of course, we already know about Shurmur – given who the new HC and OC are.

          2) Heckert was unfortunately tied to Shurmur – which would be terrible for the likes of Bill Polian (when he was good), Ron Wolf, Ozzie Newsome or any other personnel whiz past or present. Of course, this doesn’t fully account for a roster that has huge holes in the secondary, at linebacker and across the offense. Maybe Heckert would have filled these if given another couple years OR if the FO was committed to improvement. Who knows?

          Finally, if we’re to criticize Heckert, then Mangini is also fair game. It’s really hard in my view to separate these two – as Heckert had to finish what Mangini started. But then again, that just opens a vortex of bad personnel decisions that winds its way back to Dwight Clark.

          Now my head hurts.

          • Gary Collins says:

            I don’t believe Heckert would be active in free agency this year, either.

          • dan says:

            Oh, the story can go back even further than Dwight Clark, to the bad personnel decisions that led to the Browns leaving in the first place. But I do think more attention needs to be paid to the complete failure that was George Kokinis, especially as this is the year when all of the players he could have drafted are entering free agency. The Browns are paying top dollar for Kruger, after all, because Kokinis passed up on Kruger to draft Veikune. Had the Browns drafted Kruger instead, a year ago he could have been tied up to a long-term contract for less money. That’s how these things work.

            Returning to Heckert, I think you and I might agree that, to say that he drafted well except that he didn’t get a franchise QB is to state an exception that overshadows the rule.

      • jpftribe says:

        I was a big fan of Heckert. Best GM post 99 for the Browns, which isn’t a high bar.

        The big eye opener for me is that he is not working anywhere right now. Seven GM positions and he didn’t interview for any of them, supposedly turned down Jets interview.

        BTW, same observation on Mangenius. I’m really tired of his name coming up. No one in the NFL will hire the guy, three years out of football.

        • dan says:

          Both Mangini and Heckert are still being paid by the Browns, I think, and any money earned in the NFL would offset their compensation from the Browns, so both of them would be working for free, essentially, and can afford to be choosy in picking their next job.

  3. trashycamaro says:

    A playoff win 5 straight years and a Super Bowl win as the cherry on top? I’ll take that kind of idiocy running the Browns.

    Let’s not give Heckert too much credit here, either. A large majority of the team is still on rookie deals, and the talent pool is not that deep outside of that.

    But I do agree Kruger at $8MM is just fine. He’s a risk, but at that price ok. Bryant seems alright and should ease the 3-4 transition.

    • jimkanicki says:

      have to disagree.

      newsome was lucky to get out of denver, that’s clear right?

      meantime, he assembled a roster where the contracts for his starting QB, LT, TE, ILB, OLB, FS, CB simultaneously expire. his other ILB and C retire which shouldn’t have been a surprise but there’s no plan to address it. he responds to all this with a panicky giving away of his best WR.

      it’s a colossal mismanagement of contracts.

      • jpftribe says:

        Kanick, I love how you tell it like you see it. Have to agree that losing three starting LB’s is a train wreck. Then to trade your clutch receiver for a 6th rounder and say it was unpleasant is perplexing, especially given Ozzie’s NFL career and the fact the Raven’s searched for quality WR’s for a decade.

        But the guy built two SuperBowl teams, and if you have to rebuild, coming off a SuperBowl win is not a bad time to do it. It will be interesting to see if this is an ebbing tide, or a sea change in Baltimore.

        • jimkanicki says:

          i mean, i know ozzie has the super bowl.

          but theo epstein had a world series when he signed edgar renteria, matt clement, and julio lugo. dave roberts’ steal seemed to be the only thing causing him to be called genius and not utter disaster.

          i am going to HOWL when ed reed signs somewhere else after this bernard pollard cut.

      • trashycamaro says:

        Yes the Ravens were lucky to get out of Denver. They were also lucky to grab a 4th and 26. But you have to be in a position for luck to matter. 5 straight years with a playoff win is some really good roster management.

        QB – They made a bet and were happy to lose. Again, WON A SUPER BOWL.
        LT – Bryant McKinnie “2012 Baltimore Ravens 0 Games Started”. He is an old but helpful veteran piece.
        C – Birk. Old but helpful veteran piece.
        TE – Pitta and Dickson are RFAs and will be back if the Ravens choose to do so. Neither are franchise level talents anyway.
        ILB – Ellerbe – games played every year since 2009: 13, 11, 9, 13, was not a starter until Jameel McClain was injured
        ILB – Ray Lewis – He is an old but helpful veteran piece.
        OLB – Kruger is not a starter
        S – Bernard Pollard is a spare piece, will be on his 4th team in 8 years
        S – Ed Reed is 34, he is probably limited to 1 year deals at this point, and is likely easily replaceable through draft/FA at a cheaper price. He is an old but helpful veteran piece.

        Really though, you have to give Ozzie some deference. This is not a GM who was hired on potential to come in a run the Browns, where we all dissect his every move.

        HIS TEAMS WIN. Now, if they have no starting C, ILB, FS, SS, and CB when camp opens, then we can be concerned. DB is fast becoming the deepest pool of talent in free agency. When the music stops, several will be left without chairs and will sign for less than expected. Also, “old but helpful veteran piece” is exactly the kind of player that signs with BAL. Cheaply. Expect more this offseason.

        • I get your points about Ozzie and the questioning of his demi-God status. It’s kind of like people who still call Belichick a defensive genius.

          However, would you concede that part of the Ravens’ salary cap structure was geared towards that “window closing” type of Super Bowl run? That would explain the veteran contracts like Boldin, Reed, Pollard and others. And then Birk and Lewis are kind of givens. Of course, there is a sizable number of younger players that were exposed (the TE’s, Ellerbe and Kruger).

          However, if you were Newsome a YEAR AGO, would you have been thinking that Joe Flacco was worth 120 million dollars? If you did, you wouldn’t be a successful NFL GM.

          • I just realized I kind of piggybacked on TrashyCamaro’s thoughts there. I owe you a beer.

          • jimkanicki says:

            would i concede ‘window closing’ excuse on behalf of ozzie? no i would not.

            consider… if ozzie was so prescient in seeing that the window was closing, why is he carrying $10MM in dead money:

            ozzie's dead money, 2013

            it’s bad — unprecedentedly bad — cap management plain and simple.

            we’d all rather be lucky than good, ozzie was lucky last year. let’s see how lucky is this off-season filling the holes at ILB, ILB, C, WR#1, CB#2, and SS. and possibly FS.

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