Save Me NFL – You’re My Only Hope

I am a big sports fan.  We all are big sports fans, for the most part.  Ask my wife though.  I am extended well beyond the simple bounds of what Cleveland sports teams have to offer.  This weekend I watched the Tribe drop three in San Francisco.  I watched the U.S. Men’s National Team blow a 2-0 lead in the Gold Cup, losing to Mexico 4-2.  Even the entertaining UFC event that I watched last night had a pall cast over it as Nate Marquardt “failed his medical” and couldn’t fight in the main event.  Point being, I need the NFL to go ahead and use that positive progress, sign their deal and start free agency.

Regardless of what the Browns do in season, they have largely been entertaining to follow in the draft and free agency.  The Browns can’t lose any games during free agency.  We just get to plug holes in the roster in our minds as our total win predictions climb in our dreams every night.  Last year when the Browns brought in guys like Sheldon Brown, Scott Fujita, Chris Gocong and even Tony Pashos, the roster never looked better than it did before a game was played.  Nobody ever imagines for a second that the player that was just signed to an NFL contract will be unable to play at his highest level during the year.  When NFL free agency is taking place, they aren’t real people.  They’re more like the Madden version of themselves with injuries turned off.

Granted NFL free agency would be largely over by late June in any other year, but that’s why this year is such a big opportunity.  If the NFL got football started now, it would be like NFL Christmas.  All those restricted free agents from a year ago would be unrestricted free agents with the rules we expect to be signed.  While we know that the only way to field a truly competitive football team for the long haul is through the draft, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do some really great things to supplement the roster in free agency.

This is Cleveland and this is football.  We aren’t looking to sign a big name like Terrell Owens or any of the premier quarterbacks.  Most of us just want to see some depth along the offensive line, linebackers and defensive secondary.  OK, maybe a receiver would be nice too just to have some security in case Massaquoi, Robiskie, Cribbs, Mitchell, and newcomer Little can’t get the job done.

And regardless of who you think is right or wrong with regard to the NFL labor struggle, wouldn’t it be nice as fans to see an owner have the opportunity to pay a player big money to pay in Cleveland?  Now that we are this far into the lockout, I couldn’t care less about the millionaires and billionaires.  How about a little something for this sports-weary thousand-aire?

  • mgbode

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Panthers-lead-list-of-teams-on-the-hook-with-new?urn=nfl-wp2868

    what a timely thread Craig. not only do the Browns (traditionally and, yes, in 2010 one of the NFLs big spenders) have one of the lowest current payrolls (that means more cap space to sign in FA), but the FA restrictions look to be 4yr vets and up (that mteans more FAs to spend it on).

    hey, who cares about back-to-back 5 win seasons? we could make the non-splash(smart signings of non-big-names) and get this team turned around yet.

  • Ben

    If the only hope in Cleveland is the Browns I will be in the corner…drinking…heavily.

  • V

    FYI the 2011 Rugby World Cup starts on September 9th . . . I think thats something to look forward to. And its kinda like football without the showboating and one-dimensional players.

  • Daredent

    The Browns have and will always be the only sports team in Cleveland. This isn’t news. Go Browns!

  • subadai

    These are not the UFA’s you are looking for.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    There are a couple other sports sites I used to visit where people seriously tried to argue that Cleveland was becoming a basketball town with all of the success that the Cavs have had and how bad the Browns have been. Those people were always good for a laugh. Anyone who honestly thinks that Cleveland is anything but a football town first and foremost doesn’t know much about Cleveland.

    The Indians and Cavs will always play second fiddle to the Browns. I’m starting to get antsy for football myself…

  • Sean

    Baskeball town? I would trade the Cavs and Indians just to have one Super Bowl victory in my lifetime.

  • Alex Mathews

    I think the reason why I’m not as big a Browns fan as some of the people here compared to the city’s other sports franchises is simply because in my ENTIRE lifetime, the Browns have never been a good team. In my two decades of living they’ve made the playoffs only twice, and it was an early-round exit each time. Meanwhile the Cavs and Indians enjoyed near-championship status in multiple years…which made me feel more excited about those teams.

    Perhaps I would feel differently if I was a bit older…

  • Boomhauertjs

    Not excited for another 5-11 season…

  • mgbode

    @Alex Mathews – just to add the stomach punch to your statement, it should read:

    In my two decades of living they’ve made the playoffs only twice, and it was an early-round exit each time “to their biggest rival”

  • Ben

    I was at the last Browns playoff win as a senior in high school. If you would have told me walking out of the stadium that day (in my Eric Turner jersey) that the team would move next season, come back as an expansion team, and lose the only playoff game they have been in since…well…that was just sad to type.

    I still beleive that a World Series would mean more to Cleveland than anything…just my thoughts.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I disagree with you, Ben. The World Series would be incredible…but this city will burn to the ground and grown men will cry like little girls the day the Browns win the Super Bowl.

  • Ben

    The city will burn to the ground regardless of who wins…the only reason I say the Tribe is because I have people in my family who have told me about 64 and the Browns…that day is coming and I really don’t care who it is.

  • bobby

    I disagree ben. When at a browns game have you heard fans doing a Cvas or Indians chant? But about every Indians game I go to I will hear a “Hear We Go Brownies, Here We Go!” Yes, this is a browns first town and it will be epic when they win. Not that the cavs/indians championship wouldnt be… but not compared to a browns superbowl.

  • Chris

    I actually said it around the time of “the decision” that it actually seems better putting the Cavs back several steps. As much as I like the Cavs, I want our drought buster to be a superbowl, not an NBA championship or a world series.

    Football town, through and through.

  • Brian

    @7 I agree wholeheartedly.

    Also, what is the gold cup? Cricket? Rugby?