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Norwood, who last season was an undrafted rookie out of Penn State, was an exclusive rights player this offseason.
In 2011, Norwood played in 14 games and logged four starts. He had 23 catches for 268 yards and a touchdown.
Norwood had an accomplished career at PSU. He had at least 32 receptions in each of his four seasons. As a senior, he was All-Big Ten honorable mention after catching 41 passes for 637 yards and six TDs.
Norwood's best game last season came in a Week 12 loss to Cincinnati. He had four catches for 69 yards, including a 36-yarder that went for a TD.
A lot of information came out of the owner's meetings for the Cleveland Browns, courtesy of general manager Tom Heckert. He talked about trading the No. 4 pick in the draft and some of the team's targets in free agency, touching up on the pursuit of wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, and also addressed the fact that the team hasn't been very active in free agency.
On top of that, it looks like the Browns could be interested in signing former Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson during the offseason. Or rather, Heckert didn't rule out the possibility, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. The exact wording says that Heckert wouldn't rule it out, but that it wasn't on the frontburner.
It's unclear what exactly that means, especially without context. Was he asked about Benson in particular, and then gave the money line of not ruling anyone out at this time, or did he specifically say that Benson was a possibility? It's unclear at this point, but it's possible that the topic was broached due to the fact that he was being questioned by local media and the Bengals being in the vicinity, couples with the fact that the Browns do have a need at running back, given their struggles in 2011.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cleveland Browns have been beaten to the punch on a bunch of different moves by the Washington Redskins.
Specifically, the Redskins gave up a bounty for the second overall pick and the rights to select Robert Griffin III, but once they had that plan in place, they also beat the Browns to free agent receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, both of whom signed sizeable deals (especially Garcon) with the Redskins on the first day of free agency.
It's probably not a bad thing that Cleveland missed out on paying those guys that kind of money, and they didn't have to give up a million draft picks in order to get their franchise quarterback, but I think Redskins fans are pretty happy with their moves considering, and Browns fans are still waiting for the team to strike a deal.
This news is more salt on their wounds than anything else, since Cleveland fans desperately want to see positive change for their team, which has lost some important players, including running back Peyton Hillis who took a backup job in Kansas City over a job, presumably, as the starter in Cleveland.
At the NFL meetings, there are multiple teams vying to the Browns' fourth overall pick, according to a report from ESPN Cleveland based reporter Tony Grossi. This is a very interesting scenario, as lots of ideas have been thrown around lately about what the Browns might do with that pick.
A lot of rumors right now are saying that Cleveland could take Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with that selection, while others believe they could go for either Morris Claiborne or Trent Richardson, possibly even a receiver like Justin Blackmon.
Obviously, Cleveland has not been active in free agency to this point, and they need to add as many players as they can. If they can get some extra picks in this draft out of the deal, it might be interesting for them to be able to move down and still get a player they like, perhaps another pass rusher.
The Browns have added defensive end Frostee Rucker, formerly of the Bengals over this free agent period, but perhaps the biggest move was the one they didn't make in not trading up for Baylor's Robert Griffin III, which many people believed not so long ago that they were the favorites to do.
With this development, it will not only be interesting to see who is trying to move up with the Browns, but how far down they are willing to go. Last year, we saw the Atlanta Falcons make a huge jump up to number six overall, ironically with the Cleveland Browns. The Falcons gave up five picks in that deal, including an additional first round pick which Cleveland owns in this year's draft.
The Browns were able to strike big on their first round pick despite moving up down and all around, netting Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor in the later portion of the first round.
Similarly the Browns could be looking at a receiver in the first round of this year's draft, or possibly a pass rusher, and the value is simply not there with the fourth overall pick and they might not value Richardson or Claiborne highly enough to take them with that selection if a great offer is out there.
The Cleveland Browns hosted former New York Giants middle linebacker Jonathan Goff on Tuesday, according to The Plain Dealer. Cleveland is looking for some help behind D'Qwell Jackson, without much really behind him at that inside linebacker position. It's unlikely that Goff will be brought in to compete, given the strong play of Jackson last season.
It's also unlikely given the fact that Goff missed all of the 2011 season with an ACL tear. He was injured in practice, just one week before the season opener with the Giants. That being said, Goff had a very strong season before that, with 80 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble as the Giants' starting middle linebacker. It was his first full season as a starter, and was considered someone with rising stock.
So he could end up being a bigger pickup for Cleveland than one might think, if he returns to 2010 form. That being said, the Giants also remain interested in re-signing Goff, so there's a bit of competition there. There's no word on how the workout went and whether or not the Browns do intend to make him an offer.
Reports surfaced late Tuesday night that the Cleveland Browns were interested in signing free agent outside linebacker Manny Lawson. That report from Scout.com was refuted later by Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, who had a source saying the Browns were, in fact, not interested in Lawson.
The Browns are not interested in former Bengals linebacker Manny Lawson, a league source said today.
Scout.com reported Tuesday that the Browns were one of a handful of teams pursuing the former Bengals linebacker. The reports said the Raiders and Colts were also interested, and the Packers were in talks to acquire him, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday.
The Browns have already signed two pass rushers this season in Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker. Lawson played alongside Rucker last year with the Bengals, where he registered 1.5 sacks in 15 games.
The Cleveland Browns have been focusing on shoring up their defense this offseason, signing a couple defensive linemen and defensive backs, but one area they haven' really touched is the linebacker corps. Well, they're trying to take care of that, too, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Lawson is entering his seventh season after spending a year in Cincinnati and five in San Francisco. Lawson's best season came for the 49ers in 2009, when he had six and a half sacks and 66 tackles, according to Football Reference.
#Browns kicker Phil Dawson signed his franchise tender. It's worth $3.81 million for 2012.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 19, 2012
Dawson has spent all thirteen of his seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. He is the 10th most accurate kicker among active players in the NFL. Last season, Dawson made 24 of his 29 field goal attempts, connecting on a career-high seven field goals from at least 50 yards.
The $3.81 salary figure is the average salary of the top five kickers in the league, per franchise tagging rules. It is a raise of over 20 percent from what Dawson made las season. The Browns also used the franchise tag on Dawson last year.
Cleveland Browns President Mike Holmgren once again spoke on Seattle radio to discuss the Browns missed attempt at acquiring the second overall pick in the NFL Draft and his view of quarterback Colt McCoy.
Last week, Mike Holmgren spoke to Browns season ticket holders about his disappointment regarding the failed bid at moving up to select Robert Griffin III and he believes his comments were overblown. Via Daryl Ruiter of CBS Cleveland:
"I think that, as happens on occasion with the media, got overstated just a little bit," Holmgren told Mahler.
"We were involved in discussions, let’s put it that way," Holmgren said. "I thought we had enough bullets in the gun to perhaps make a run at that, and it turned out we didn’t.
Holmgren said on Monday morning that his courting of Griffin III in no way reflects on his judgement of McCoy. He said that, including potential draftees, the Browns "looked at 10 or 12 quarterbacks, maybe even more." Holmgren acknowledged that free agent Matt Flynn was among that group, but little else regarding the newly-signed Seattle Seahawk.
"Listen, I want to make something pretty clear… I like Colt McCoy as a player," Holmgren said. "I think he’s a fine player and has a chance to be a fine player in this league. I thought last year, one, he got beat up pretty good. We didn’t protect him quite as well. I thought our running game after Peyton Hillis got hurt wasn’t helping him enough in my opinion. And then we had the lockout, so you had a new coach, new system, new quarterback. So you put all that together, and I think it was a little bit of a short deck. So I’m not down on Colt McCoy at all."
The Peyton Manning sweepstakes finally came to an end early Monday morning, when ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported that that he the Hall-of-Fame quarterback informed the Denver front office that he decided to join the Broncos. The immediate fallout for the Browns was that Tennessee Titans' quarterback Matt Hasselbeck would likely not become available. Many speculated that if Manning landed with the Titans, they would cut loose Hasselbeck and his former coach Mike Holmgren would make a move to bring him to the North Coast.
While it doesn't look like Hasselbeck is going anywhere, another starting quarterback you may be familiar with could be on the move.
More filed to ESPN: And now that Peyton Manning has directed his agent to get deal done with Denver, Broncos will try to trade Tim Tebow.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 19, 2012
While some are already throwing his name out there as a good fit for the Browns, let's not get carried away. It's looking like Colt McCoy or bust in 2012.
Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn has signed a three-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks, according to reports. Flynn was once rumored to be a target for the Cleveland Browns and Mike Holmgren this offseason, but that interest dissipated when the NFL free agency season began last week. There were initial reports that both the Browns and the Dolphins were going to offer Flynn a deal, but Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer later refuted those rumors and the Browns never really showed a strong interest in Flynn. His deal with the Seahawks is for up to $26 million, with $10 million guaranteed, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN:
Filed to ESPN: Matt Flynn has agreed to terms with Seattle on a 3-yr contract worth up to $26M w/$10M guaranteed.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2012
The deal is a far cry from the speculated $50 million number we first heard after Flynn's impressive final game of the season. With Kevin Kolb's option being picked up by the Cardinals this week and Flynn now off the board, it's looking more and more like the Browns will proceed with Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace next season.
The Arizona Cardinals had a big decision to make this afternoon on quarterback Kevin Kolb, who had a $7 million roster bonus due unless he was cut loose by 4:00 pm. Many Cleveland reporters felt that the Browns would have a strong interest in Kolb if the Cardinals released him, with GM Tom Heckert and Coach Pat Shurmur having a past history with Kolb in Philadelphia. But, as was the case with the Matt Flynn speculation, Kolb was quickly taken off the board as an option.
ESPN's Suzy Kolber reports Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb will receive his $7 million roster bonus, according to team source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2012
The Cardinals were forced to pick up the bonus when it appeared they were out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, with the former Indianapolis quarterback apparently narrowing his choices down to Denver and Tennessee. The Browns, meanwhile, look to be moving forward with Colt McCoy.
The Cleveland Browns have released defensive end Jayme Mitchell, according to the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. Mitchell was with the Browns for the last two seasons but became expendable with this week's signings of Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker. Mitchell was due a base salary of $2.4 million and was simply not productive enough at that price for the Browns to consider keeping him on board.
Breaking: #Browns will release defensive end Jayme Mitchell today, a league source told the plain dealer.Started 13 games last season.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 16, 2012
While Mitchell started 13 games last season, he had only 1.5 sacks and just 26 tackles playing in Dick Jauron's defense. The release comes as no surprise. The Browns also officially announced the signings of Dimitri Patterson and Juqua Parker.
Former Browns safety Mike Adams has signed a contract with the Denver Broncos, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Adams was not expected to re-sign with the Browns and had a number of visits scheduled with other teams. The Broncos, however, offered him a contract he could not refuse so he will be with John Fox's club for the 2012 season.
#Browns safety Mike Adams is signing with Denver. Good luck to Mike, a fan and media favorite!— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 15, 2012
While the Browns lost Adams, they did retain Brian Schaefering, who signed his exclusive rights free agent tender. The Browns also announced that they re-signed Oniel Cousins, who saw action in four games last season, including one start at right tackle.
The Cleveland Browns have signed their second defensive lineman in free agency, inking Juqua Parker to a one-year deal, according to the NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora. Parker's deal will reportedly pay him a max of $3 million for one year.
Juqua Parker agrees to terms with the Browns 1yr, max of $3M #freeagency— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 15, 2012
Parker spent the past seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, rushing off the edge in that team's notorious pressure and blitz-happy defensive system. He recorded 1.5 sacks in 12 games with the Eagles last year. He joins Frostee Rucker as the second defensive line free agent the Browns have signed in as many days. Rucker stated this morning that the team had told him he would start opposite Jabaal Sheard, so the Parker signing is to add depth and to fill a reserve role most likely.
Defensive end Frostee Rucker, he of four sacks with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011, was signed by the Cleveland Browns back on Wednesday. It looks like he was one of the biggest off season priorities for the Cleveland front office and for good reason, NFL Radio's Daryl Ruiter reported on Thursday that Rucker would be an immediate starter for the Browns in 2012.
Other tweets from Thursday showed that Rucker had wanted a bigger role defensively, something that he is obviously getting right away with the Browns. The 28 year old started 11 games last season and ended up collecting 44 tackles and four sacks, both career highs. He will start across from young Jabaal Sheard, who picked up 8.5 sacks for the Browns last season along with 55 tackles and five forced fumbles.
Citing a league source, Pro Football Talk reported early Thursday that the Browns have agreed to a three-year deal with defensive back Dimitri Patterson.
Per Pro Football Talk's Twitter account:
Dimitri Patterson agrees to terms on a three-year deal with the Browns, per league source.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 15, 2012
Patterson, a nickel back, played in 14 games for Cleveland last season, tallying 28 total tackles. With the Eagles in 2010, he played 16 games and had four interceptions.
Patterons' new deal is reportedly worth up to $16 million, with $6 million guaranteed. The deal comes on the heels of former Browns running back Peyton Hillis signing a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 5-10, 200-pound Patterson was undrafted coming out of Tuskegee in 2005. He then bounced around the league, playing for Washington, Minnesota, Kansas City and Philadelphia before landing in Cleveland prior to last season.
Rumors surfaced this week that Browns were trying to trade for Houston Texans running back Ben Tate. There were never any confirmed reports, but many members of the media alluded to rumblings. The Texans retained All-Pro running back Arian Foster and the Browns were expected to lose Peyton Hillis, which likely sparked the rumors. But The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot put those rumors to rest on Thursday morning, tweeting that there was nothing to it.
Nothing at all to rumor that Browns will trade for Texans' RB Ben Tate. Zero chance of happening I'm told.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 15, 2012
Aside from the Frostee Rucker signing on Wednesday, the Browns have yet to make many moves to add to the roster and some fans were holding out hope that this deal could be worked out.
Turns out that former Browns RB Peyton Hillis signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Chiefs.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2012
After a breakout season in his first season with the Browns in 2010 in which Hillis ran for 1,177 yards, he was a hot commodity around the league. However, a lackluster 2011 season marred by injuries and bizarre behavior off-the-field really dragged down Hillis' value.
Hillis will pair up with former Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who signed on with the Chiefs earlier in the offseason to become their offensive coordinator. In his first tweet since December, Hills sent a parting message to Browns fans:
Appreciate all my fans in Cleveland for the support given to me in my time there. Can't wait to get back on the field and go to work in KC.— Peyton Hillis (@thepeytonhillis) March 14, 2012
The Browns are releasing 31-year-old offensive lineman Eric Steinbach, according to the National Football Post. The former Iowa Hawkeye, who missed all of 2011 after back surgery, was in the sixth year of a seven year deal with the Browns, and would have been on the books for $6 million in the 2012 season.
Although Steinbach formally asked for his release, there's still a chance he'll be with Cleveland next year. Per Steinbach's agent:
Eric Steinbach could part ways with the Cleveland Browns. Asked to take a significant salary reduction in late February, the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement on a new deal, so Steinbach has asked for his release. However, the two sides will keep talking while Steinbach will simultaneously explore the free agent market.
The Browns certainly need help on the line, and if the two sides are able to come to an agreement that will pay Steinbach less, but offer him more in incentives, it would help free up more cap space for the Browns to -- well, do whatever it is that they are doing in free agency (hint: not much of anything). Regardless, Steinbach has always been a pro, and if he heads elsewhere, Browns fans will wish him the best.
The Browns haven't been major players in free agency once again -- and in this case, a lack of action speaks louder than words.
The Cleveland Browns have been very quiet through this free agency period, but they're not going to be totally inactive. They're hoping to build through the draft and get some under-the-radar players in free agency. One such player was reportedly signed on Wednesday, according to Mary Kay Cabot on Twitter.
That's Frostee Rucker, who played in all 16 of Cincinnati's games in 2011 and, as the tweet notes, piled up 44 tackles with four sacks. He started 11 games and was pretty highly regarded. It was easily his best season to date, since entering the league in 2006. He'd never had more than one sack in a given season, plus he had a couple pass deflections on top of that.
Cleveland may see Rucker as a player who could he hitting his stride, even at 28 years-old. Six seasons into the league and having his best one yet could be a sign that he's ready to get even more playing time, and will likely compete for a starting spot on Cleveland's defensive line across from Jabaal Sheard.
Update: Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds some details about Rucker's deal with the Browns:
Rucker's deal to Browns per league source is $21 million over five years with over $8 million guaranteed— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) March 14, 2012
The Browns appear to be out of the chase for Matt Flynn, as more and more comes out that the Browns are not in pursuit and the Packers quarterback is receiving interest from the Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins. Adam Schefter tweeted this morning that Flynn has already scheduled a visit with the Seahawks:
Packers free agent QB Matt Flynn is scheduled to visit Seattle on Thursday night, into Friday.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2012
NFL Network's Albert Breer supplemented that report, but also said that two unnamed teams remain interested in the career backup quarterback.
In addition to the Seahawks, with whom he has a visit scheduled, QB Matt Flynn drawing interest from 2 other teams.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 14, 2012
The only real news about the Browns adding players came from a nugget in a report from Will Burge at ESPNCleveland, who said there were rumblings of a potential trade with the Houston Texans for running back Ben Tate. The Browns could be looking to add Tate with Peyton Hillis potentially on his way out. But The Fan's Keith Britton reported that his Tate's agent could not confirm those trade talks at this point:
Ben Tate's agent has told me he can't confirm/deny there have been trade negotiations w/ his client, but it "wouldn't surprise me" he says— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) March 14, 2012
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed former Cleveland Browns cornerback Eric Wright, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Wright’s deal will be for the next five years, but as of now, the financial terms are unknown.
The former second round pick of the Browns played just one year in Detroit, but he was a pretty important asset for their defense, netting 73 tackles and four interceptions. The Bucs have a desperate need at the cornerback position, so getting Wright is a pretty big move for them. He will likely be their top starter and they will have to add another as the futures of Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib are in doubt for very different reasons.
Wright has 13 career interceptions—nine in Cleveland—and should be a big addition for Tampa Bay.
On Tuesday during the first day of free agency, reports surfaced out of South Florida that both the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins were in pursuit of quarterback Matt Flynn. Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reportedthat both clubs would be exchanging contract offers with Flynn's agent "soon." Mary Kay Cabot relayed the report, but did not confirm the Browns interest.
Then, on Wednesday morning, Cabot refuted that report, tweeting that the Browns have not pursued Flynn and had not made an offer.
BREAKING: #Browns have not pursued GB QB Matt Flynn and reports that they're set to make offer untrue, league source tells PD.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 14, 2012
Based on how quiet the Browns were on the first day, and the past statements and general philosophy of Tom Heckert, the initial report was surprising. Cleveland may still have a strong interest in Flynn, but Cabot soundly refutes any report that they're prepared to make an offer. Earlier reporting on Tuesday had reiterated this, as both Matt Miller and Don Banks said the Browns were not players for Flynn and likely a third option.
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis hit the open market on Thursday as the NFL free agency period kicked off. Hillis was prepared to enter free agency when reports surfaced last month that the Browns would not use their franchise tag on the bruising running back out of Arkansas. Hillis had a tumultuous season to say the least, going through multiple agents and off-the-field drama centered around his contract and impending free agency.
It was expected that Hillis would meet with other teams early in the free agency period, and NFL Network's Michael Lombardi confirmed that on Thursday. Lombardi also added that Hillis may be seeking a short-term deal.
#Browns RB Peyton Hillis could sign a short-term deal with another team in the next day or so, nflnetwork's mike lombardi reports— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 13, 2012
Cabot supplemented Lombardi's initial report, and added one team that Hillis will be meeting with specifically - the Kansas City Chiefs.
Browns running back Peyton Hillis will visit the Chiefs, a source told The Plain Dealer today. In Kansas City, Hillis would play for former Browns coach Romeo Crennel. If all goes well on his visit, Hillis could sign quickly.
After failing to move up to the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns are now looking to free agency to upgrade the quarterback position. The Browns are making a run at Matt Flynn, the back up to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, who sent his stock shooting through the roof with a 480-yard, six-touchdown performance in his only start last season.
Cleveland is competing with Miami for the services of Flynn, according to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Via Kelly:
The Dolphins and Cleveland are negotiating with Packers backup Matt Flynn, and will be exchanging contract offers with his agent soon.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) March 13, 2012
Flynn, 26, is a four-year veteran out of LSU. He has made only two starts in his career with the Green Bay Packers. The Dolphins are still hoping to nab Peyton Manning, but are courting Flynn in the event that Manning chooses to play elsewhere. Via Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer:
Dolphins still want P. Manning, but are pursuing Matt Flynn in the event they strike out. If Manning to Miami, Browns have good shot/Flynn— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 13, 2012
As one receiver after another signs or visits with teams not headquartered in Berea, the Cleveland Browns finally announced that they had signed someone who will be paid to catch the football. It's not a big splash, however, as Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports the Browns have re-signed tight end Alex Smith to a one-year deal.
BREAKING: #Browns re-signed TE Alex Smith to one-year deal, league source said.— Scott Petrak (@ScottPetrak) March 13, 2012
Colt McCoy has consistently targeted his tight ends in his two years in the league, and Smith will continue to be a part of that in what is hopefully a backup and secondary role. The big tight end caught 14 passes for 141 yards and one touchdown last season. It's not a big signing, but it qualifies for news in an otherwise quiet start to the free agency season for the Browns.
The Cleveland Browns have been busy preparing for free agency, releasing punter Richmond McGee and right tackle Tony Pashos, who could miss the 2012 season due to injury, while re-signing offensive lineman John Greco and tendering wide receiver Jordan Norwood and defensive lineman Brian Schaefering, according to Brown beat writer Daryl Ruiter. Via Ruiter:
Jason LaCanfora reported Tuesday afternoon that the Browns had $15 million in cap space to work with prior to any moves being announced or the $1.6 million in cap relief being assessed as a result of penalties against Washington and Dallas.
The terms of Greco's deal were not immediately known, but the Browns saved over $2 million by releasing McGee and Pashos. Greco appeared in 15 games in a reserve role after being acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Rams.
Norwood played in 14 games in 2011, registering career-highs with 23 receptions for 268 yards and one touchdown. Schaefering appeared in all 16 games as a reserve and made 29 tackles and a half sack.
As the free agency deadline approached on Thursday afternoon, reports surfaced that the Cleveland Browns were not planning to aggressively target Packers quarterback Matt Flynn in free agency. Speculation estimated a potential $50 million contract would land the former LSU quarterback who's had only two starts at the NFL level, sitting behind MVP Aaron Rodgers.
Then, after the trade deadline, Sports Illustrated's Don Banks supported those earlier reports and tweeted that the Browns would be Flynn's third option at this point.
Cleveland will be the No. 3 spot for Flynn, but not sure he would go there unless he gets no decent offers from Miami or Seattle.— Don Banks (@DonBanks) March 13, 2012
Banks also tweeted that the Seahawks and Dolphins would likely be the first two choices for Flynn, with the loser of the sweepstakes going after Ryan Tannehill in the draft. Flynn's former offensive coordinator, Joe Philbin, is now the coach in Miami but many reports have the Fins aggressively targeting the big prize, Peyton Manning.
The NFL Free Agent period is set to begin at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and Cleveland Browns fans aren't expecting much to happen in their neck of the woods. And Warren, OH native and top-wide receiver free agent Mario Manningham shed some light on why that could be Tuesday when he spoke with Cleveland.com's Starting Blocks TV.
When asked if he was considering the Browns as an option, Manningham blatantly said, "Um, not really."
"Not to put the organization down, but a lot of players that's not one of their top choices, because everybody says how cold it is in Cleveland and their (status) team-wise. So, it's a combination."
Manningham also cited that the Browns' quarterbacking situation as a deterrent, and come four o'clock he will be waiting for a phone call from his agent.
Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson has accepted his franchise tag, according to a report from the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. Dawson has been the only starting kicker the new Browns franchise has known since their return in 1999. The tag will pay the Texas product around $3.8 million a year, according to Cabot. The news came as little surprise, as the kicker who's spent so much of his career in Northeast Ohio was expected to stay on for at least one more season.
#Browns kicker Phil Dawson has accepted his franchise tag, a league source tells the Plain Dealer. About $3.8 million.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 13, 2012
Despite the franchise tag, Dawson did not have his best season with the Browns in 2011. He ranked 19th in the league in touchback percentage and field goal accuracy.
In an offseason full of questions about the future of the quarterback position, the Browns could very well end up moving forward with the familiar face of Colt McCoy. The Redskins swooped in and moved up to the No. 2 pick in the draft, where they will almost certainly select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. That left many wondering if the Browns would turn to free agency for a new quarterback, with the Packers Matt Flynn as the top target. But with free agency rapidly approaching, Matt Miller reports that he's heard from two sources that the Browns are not players for Flynn at this point.
Hearing from two sources that #Browns are not players for Matt Flynn. Take it for what's its worth.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 13, 2012
There's a lot of misinformation being floated out there, but with only two real starts under his belt, Flynn would be a costly gamble...which all could mean the Browns continue on with McCoy, unless of course, the insanity of drafting Ryan Tannehill in the top five comes to fruition.
NFL Free Agency begins on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET and several Cleveland Browns players are expected to hit the market and attract interest from other teams.
According to Mary Kay Cabot at The Plain Dealer, running back Peyton Hillis and cornerback Dimitri Patterson are two of the better Browns expected to actually entertain offers from other teams, while safety Mike Adams and tight end Alex Smith are currently in the process of being re-signed:
Hillis is one of several Browns -- along with cornerback Dimitri Patterson -- who will test the waters. Hillis' agent, Jimmy Sexton, has been in contact with the team, but nothing is expected to be done by the time free agency starts. [...]
Two other Browns free agents that could enter the NFL job fair, safety Mike Adams and tight end Alex Smith. The Browns are still working to get Adams under contract, but he's expected to attract interest because of his versatility.
Nothing is expected to be signed prior to the start of free agency or immediately after, but it could move fast.
The Cleveland Browns plan to release right tackle Tony Pashos, which should come as no surprise to Browns fans. The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot reports that the move should be made by Tuesday, almost a week after Pashos had surgery on an injured left foot. He played most of the 2011-12 season on a ruptured tendon in his foot. Cabot spoke with his agent, Rick Smith, who relayed the message that Pashos was not happy with the news he will be cut free.
"While Tony was in the hospital, I got the call from the Browns giving me the heads up that they were releasing him,'' said Smith. "When Tony called the Browns, they told him he was a warrior. But he's not a warrior. He's somebody's son, somebody's husband, somebody's father. He's a guy trying to support his family."
Smith said Pashos put off the surgery last season to help the Browns out because he knew the team was thin at right tackle. He sat at the first three games of the regular season before returning to play on the bad wheel - but at a serious cost, as Smith told Cabot:
"But in order to be able to do that, he had to be given an enormous amount of pain pills and shots,'' said Smith. "It was an enormous amount, to the point where at Christmas, he went into the hospital with three ulcers from the pain medication. You can see that he missed the final regular season game, because he was in the hospital with the ulcers.''
It's not a pretty story, but he did go into it with his eyes wide open, and was not effective last season.
Heckert reiterated previous statements that the Browns are unlikely to pursue any of the top free agent quarterbacks this year. That would include Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn, widely considered the consolation prize for teams not landing Manning or picking one of the top quarterbacks available in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Browns GM did mention that the team had its eyes on four quarterbacks available in the draft. One player he mentioned by name was Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden.
"I really like him a lot,'' Heckert said of Weeden. "We're going to see him (throw) tomorrow. He's mature and he's telling you it's a positive. He's a really interesting guy. He's super smart."
The knock on Weeden is that he is 28-years old, six years older than Robert Griffin III. Weeden could be the Browns' backup plan if they opt against trading up for Griffin.
Naturally, Heckert stressed that the teams still sees an NFL future for Colt McCoy.
After firing his agent, Kennard McGuire, last week for not making more progress on a contract with the Cleveland Browns, Peyton Hillis has re-hired Jimmy Sexton, the agent he came into the NFL with, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. Via Florio on ProFootBallTalk:
Now, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Hillis plans to re-hire Jimmy Sexton, who has since joined CAA. Per the source, Ben Dogra of CAA also will be involved in the representation.
CAA represents many of the NFL's brightest stars, such as Tim Tebow, Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees. Hillis's contract is set to expire next Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. Last season, Hillis was hampered by injuries and ran for just 587 yards in 10 games. The previous season, Hillis ran for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns in his third season in the NFL.
For more Browns coverage, check out Dawgs By Nature.
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis denied his interest in being a secret agent on Friday. Hillis told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that reports of his interest in retiring and joining the CIA were untrue.
“It makes me sound insane,” Hillis said.
He added his belief that someone planted the report in order to undercut his value as a free agent.
Then again, maybe Hillis is not allowed to confirm the report. Maybe Hillis already is a secret agent, sent to investigate … nah.
Speaking of agents, Hillis explained his reasoning for changing his representation. He said that his agents were getting nothing done in regards to a new contract with the Browns.
Clowning aside, the most important nugget from Hillis’ interview might be his stated willingness to take a discount, at least in how he considers his market value, to remain with the Browns. Hillis added that he feels like the Browns will let him test the market before making an attempt to re-sign him.
For more Browns coverage, check out Dawgs By Nature.
ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday that the Cleveland Browns will not use their franchise tag on running back Peyton Hillis.
Schefter’s report also says that, during the 2011 season, Hillis contemplated retirement, and even considered joining the CIA.
Hillis played in just 10 games last season due to injuries. He had 161 rushes for 587 yards, an average of just 3.6 per attempt. In 2010, he had 1,177 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry.
Schefter quotes Cleveland GM Tom Heckert saying,
“If we can work something out with Peyton (Hillis) we will,” Heckert told ESPN. “Did he have some rough patches during the season? Yes. Were there stretches where things were blown out of proportion? Yes. Honestly, I feel like a lot of that was blown up in the media. Now, of course things will still come down to the money, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Hillis has played four NFL seasons, two in Denver and two in Cleveland. For his career he averages 4.2 yards per carry. Because of injuries has only played in 16 games once.
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