NFL Free Agency: Browns are Bringing in the Jets

david-bowensWith the NFL free agency season still underway, we are finally starting to see a few more names added to the roster for the Cleveland Browns. Sure, they are not exactly the Albert Haynesworths or Terrell Owens’, but any fan that anticipated big name free agents this year was bound to be disappointed. But with the recent wave of signings, these players all have something in common: their former team.

In what has been an interesting off-season from the standpoint of coaching changes as well as players themselves, we have seen quite a number of players follow their former play-callers and general managers to their new team whether through trade or free agency. Scott Pioli took the gig in Kansas City and wasted no time in acquiring Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel. Baltimore’s Rex Ryan is the new head coach of the New York Jets, and will get to call plays for former Ravens Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that Eric Mangini and George Kokinis have added a handful of players with whom our head coach is very familiar.

Over the last few days, the Browns have added veteran defensive back Hank Poteat, defensive lineman C.J. Mosley, and linebacker David Bowens. All three players are former New York Jets and will hopefully add depth and talent to the defensive side of the ball.

The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Bowens deal is for four years and $7.2 million dollars – more than several analysts felt the 32-year old linebacker was worth considering his recent knee surgery.  However, he should actually see considerable time on the field while Poteat and Mosley will likely be used for depth.   Poteat will likely fill in the role that the Browns were hoping to achieve with Terry Cousin and (recently departed) Travis Daniels last off-season.  His contract is reportedly for one season, which is not a bad move by any means considering that the cornerback is 31-years of age.

If you think that Mangini/Kokinis are complacent with their three former Jets, think again.  The team is working hard on addressing their opening at strong safety by agreeing to terms with 27-year old Abram Elam.  The OBR reports that Elam has signed an offer sheet of one-year, $1.5 million – the Jets have one week to match, as Elam is a restricted free agent.  With three years of experience, Elam brings some youth that is still improving.  I’m not sure why the Browns are only looking to use his services for one season – I assume that there is a plan in place for the future.

eric-bartonIn the linebacker ranks, Eric Barton is also a name that 1) has Jets ties and 2) interests the Browns.  This is one I could side with given the fact that he is a tackling machine (119 last season) and would not require as much money as some of the other ILB’s out there.

If anything, these signings/potential signings are a step up from the Romeo Crennel version that included Ted Washington and Willie McGinest.  Granted, McGinest is a vocal team leader and has shown flashes of brilliance, there is no denying that both of these guys were on the down side of their career.  The age of some of the recent additions may be a bit worrying to most, but these guys will not be counted on to start.  Washington and McGinest were.

If you’re going to compare the likes of Cassel, Scott and Leonhard to those of the players that are being touted by the Browns, you are not going to be doing yourself any favors.  Scott’s contract is for six years and $48 million.  Leonhard will make $7 million over the next three seasons.  And Cassel will obviously make his $14.7 million in franchise quarterback money for 2009.

In other news…

Free agent cornerback Jarrett Bush will reportedly pay Cleveland a visit.  He’s also being wooed by Tennessee and Baltimore.  He would be mostly used for his skill on special teams, while adding depth to the secondary.  Meanwhile, the Steelers are looking at Chris Carr – one of the fastest DB’s in the NFL.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Texans may use their 15th overall selection on Clay Matthews III.  We mentioned not long ago that the Browns were rumored to be interested in his services.  However, if he’s gone before the second half of the first-round, he will likely not be wearing a Browns jersey next season.

Tight end Darnell Dinkins will reportedly pay a visit to the New Orleans Saints.  With the addition of Robert Royal to the Browns, there will be little to no need for Dinkins in Cleveland for 2009.

(photos courtesy of Associated Press)

  • nb

    Baltimore’s Rex* Ryan is the new head coach of the Jets. Rob Ryan is the Brownies new D coordinator.


    I’m looking at these Jets signings as a way to build depth on the defensive side the ball. It’s no secret, when both units were healthy earlier in the season, it was defense that struggled as they blew leads to the Ravens and Broncos.

    I’m trusting that Mangini and Kokinis are building a foundation and then building through the draft. I hope they realize the way to win is defense, defense, defense.

    I’m putting my faith in Mangini and Kokinis, for now, that they know what they’re doing and have a clear plan for the future, something that avoided the previous coach and GM.

  • DP

    Fixed. Thanks, nb!

  • matt

    Something that has not been touched on is the fact that Mangini has been raked across the coals for not being a “players’ coach”…..despite the fact that virtually all of our free agent signings have been his former players. Is this a sign that perhaps he commands more respect than what fans may believe?

  • bobby

    To matt at 3- I have read a few things of players speaking very highly of Mangini, including Leon Washington.

    As to Elam, I am not sure, but since its a RFA doesn’t he have to sign a tender (the 1 year, 1.5 mil) and allow the Jets to match it? This is just as to why its only a 1 year thing.

    Other then that, I think these are just depth signings, and except if they get Barton and Elam, the others are all back-ups that can fill spots until Rookies can take over in a year or two.

  • Craig

    At this point I know a couple things. The Browns didn’t have a lot of money under the cap to blow on free agents. All they have to do is be better than Andra Davis and Terry Cousin. The Browns will have to pick well in the draft to truly get better. Then again, I love the idea of having depth in terms of backup players who know the system. Great teams in the salary cap era are based on teams full of players who know the system and can play reasonably well whenever they are called upon surrounded by a few greats. Now all we have to do is draft a few “greats.” Ha.

  • Chris M

    Wonderful. Because when I think of “hotbed of talent”, I certainly think of last year’s New York Jets.

  • IRB?

    Is Favre coming to the Browns next?

    I just had a Brett-Quinn-gasm.

    Not really, but I bet a lot of people would. And by people I mean women.

  • Jeremy C

    All these washed up Jets are annoying me. Isn’t there anyone else out there for them to at least make an attempt with? I don’t think I’ll be watching a lot of Browns games this season.

  • Scott

    FWIW, the Jets actually allowed more points per game than the Browns last season…

  • mgbode

    Wow…look at the Jets backlash.

    These guys are going to be our backups people. They are better than the backups they are to replace. Let’s not get worked up that Mangini prefers depth options that don’t have to learn the defensive system from scratch.

    Only Elam might compete to be a starter (with Mike Adams). And that is only if we don’t use one of our 2 2nd rounders on a safety (or until that guy is ready to take the reigns).

  • bobby

    The real question is how good will these guys rate in Madden?

    Joking aside, Elam is definitely going to be the starter, and Adams a nickel/ backup role. And, according to James Walker at ESPN, Bowens will be a starter too (as of now, though I hope they address a different starter in the draft).

  • Aaron

    Haha, you signed Robert Royal. Did you know one of the Bills blogs has section dedicated to watching him fail for the Browns?

    Good luck with that.

  • RipJob

    Great job of summarizing Tony Grossi’s column from yesterday. At least credit the man!

  • Chris M

    Haha, your quarterback is Trent Edwards. Where’s JP Losman, bagging groceries by now?

  • JackGonzo

    Robert Royal, played well for the Skins and well enough for you to give him a good chunk of change Buffalo. Then again he is a blocking TE and you needed weapons, but that’s ok you have TO now, good job.

    Now, it’s good that we bring in his former players they know the system and can help teach those who don’t know…anything…like Wimbley. They also can help quell any rumors or speculation that some folks in NY may be spweing to their teammates.

    We all want to rip on the Jets, but until Brett Farve become the I machine they were in playoff contention, were the first team to beat the Titans and won five straight at one point. So if it’s not for Farve’s collapse, would Mangini had even been fired?

    As for the Son Of Matthews, I feel it is his destiny to be a Brown. I am also willing to say something no one else has to this point. With his stock going up and up I saw screw it and we draft the kid at number five. In a certain way it is the one pick most Browns fans shouldn’t be upset about, I mean how can we be upset about picking the son of Matthews?

  • Bridgecrosser

    I dont want Matthews III and/or his mullet unless it’s with a 2nd round pick. You cant risk your first rounder on a guy with one season of performance.

  • Craig

    RipJob seeing as both these articles are reporting facts rather than reporting rumors or anything like that, I suggest maybe it is just the natural story to write. What else are you going to write about these FACTS WHICH HAVE OCCURRED in the world around us? If that makes us a ripoff then why not slam us during every single game wrapup? Brian Windhorst reports how many points Lebron scores. Are we just ripping him off?

    This site is extra careful to attribute to all the catalysts for our stories, including Tony Grossi. When the OBR does their amazing work? Attributed. When we find something on Yardbarker? Attributed. The Plain Dealer employs some of our favorite writers. We attribute them.

    Sorry, but in this case where Mangini has signed a bunch of Jets players, you will have to just trust us that we NOTICED without having to read Grossi first. Again, this is not an attack on Grossi. Just pointing out that we can all report facts right along with him. We don’t pretend to scoop anybody. That’s the OBR’s job.

  • TampaBrett

    Whatever. I’m just anxious to see what we do in the draft.



  • RandyOSU

    mgbode-the problem is that they are not getting paid backup money, are over 30, and are castoffs. If you’re ok with that as your team depth, great.