oldgrappler's Avatar
Sashi Brown, head wheeler-N-dealer of the Cleveland Browns, was quoted as saying the Browns needed to sign some of their own FA--guys who had done things right. So much for that! The Browns lose 4 FA in the first day.

1. Center Alex Mack went to Atlanta for an average of 9.5 M a year. Is now the highest paid center in NFL.

2. Mitchell Schwartz to KC for 6.6 M a year and 2nd highest paid right tackle.

3. Travis Benjamin will get 24M over four years.

4. Tashaun Gipson, 5 years, 35.5 M.

What's the deal with the Browns letting four FAs walk? Well, Hue Jackson, and owner Jimmy Haslem both have said very definitively that this team needed to build through the draft and that they would not be major players in FA. I guess they proved they meant it. It also would seem to mean that Haslem realizes this process of rebuilding will require more than 2 seasons to accomplish. Let's hope Hue is given a chance to see it through.

The only move in FA that I am upset with is not re-signing Mitchell Schwartz. Mack was a forgone conclusion last year when they gave him the transition tag and he tested out the market. Cleveland matched the offer the Jags made then but it was pretty well assumed Mack would go to the highest bidder when he hit FA. He opted out of the last three of his contract and Cleveland didn't want to play the highest bidder game. Okay, I agree with that.

Benjamin also came with a too-high price tag. He is getting paid #2 WR money. I see him as a returner and a #3. I don't think he will last long in this league if he gets a lot of targets from a QB. So I see why the Browns didn't try to keep him. Get compensatory picks and build through the draft.

Tashaun Gipson has had one good year--made the pro bowl. But I don't think he is that good without a supporting cast. He can be replaced. Again, take the compensatory picks and find a replacement somewhere, perhpas on the roster.

But Schwartz... he is just entering his prime and he said he wanted to stay around. It is believed he had a goal of around 8.5 M per year. Cleveland made an offer shy of that, reported to be 7.5 M. Not bad, right? But something happened in the negotiations and things went south. Cleveland rescinded the offer. Schwartz looked elsewhere and ended up with 6.6M per year from KC. Surely, Cleveland would have been willing to pay that!

What happened? Schwartz's brother tweeted something about the "nonsense" he endured earlier in the day, presumably from Cleveland. And reports are that several agents have complained about Cleveland's negotiating not being in good faith. I don't know if there is anything to that but it is clear that Cleveland lost out on at least one FA they could have kept at a competitive price.

I guess the plan is to dig the hole deeper before getting out. Makes sense, right?