According to too many people to count on Twitter last night from Cleveland reporters Tony Grossi and Mary Kay Cabot, to Adam Schefter and the national guys, the Browns and Falcons were bidding for the services of former Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards. Some even referred to it as a “bidding war.” Who knows if that was just a measure used to try and hype up the news. Regardless, it is difficult to figure exactly how a high profile signing of one of the best defensive players available in free agency fits into Tom Heckert’s supposed “philosophy” to not go too big in free agency.
In a way, it could be in the Browns’ best interest to keep a player like Ray Edwards away from Atlanta. He is just one player on an entire team, but he has the potential to be pretty dominant. The Browns, of course, are hoping the Falcons have a pretty bad season to help improve the draft status of the picks they traded for when they gift-wrapped Julio Jones for the Falcons during this year’s draft.
But Atlanta seems to be making more moves that could signal their level of interest. This morning the Falcons parted ways with two somewhat disappointing first round draft choices in defensive end Jamaal Anderson (2007) and wide receiver Michael Jenkins (2004.) Jenkins*** was certainly more productive than Anderson for the Falcons. Regardless, the two combined were set to make about $7 million this season. Cutting those two guys frees up a significant amount of money that the Falcons might need in order to sign Ray Edwards.
The other (potentially) moving piece in all this is the Giants’ apparent interest in trading the contractually dissatisfied Osi Umenyiora. The 29-year old is thought to be considering a holdout. If you were his agent, you would recommend it too as so many guys are getting paid big money right now and few have been as productive as Umenyiora who has more than 10 sacks per season in the last five years. Plus, at 29 this could be one of Umenyiora’s best if not last chances to really make the big bucks in his NFL career.
So, it is a lot of fun now that the lockout is over. The Browns are in the running for free agents and big-time trade targets. They have money to spend. I just hope they spend wisely. If it was up to me, despite Umenyiora’s productivity, I would prefer to have the guy who is 26. Beggars can’t be choosers, but then again, didn’t Tom Heckert say the Browns were going to build through the draft and not make a big splash in free agency? I guess he never said anything about high profile trades with the New York Giants.
*** Yes, I know that Michael Jenkins plays wide receiver. Yes, I am aware that he played at Ohio State. No, that doesn’t mean that the Browns need to sign him.