With the Cleveland Browns boarding a plane this Friday with Oakland, California as the destination, former Browns linebacker Kamerion Wimbley will get to suit up against his teammates for the first time since being traded in the 2010 offseason.
With Tom Heckert under control of the 53-man roster and a lot of improvements to be made, his impact was made immediately with the trades of Wimbley to Oakland, and quarterback Brady Quinn to Denver. The Quinn trade netted the Browns their current running back Peyton Hillis, the Wimbley deal would provide the draft selection that the team would later use on their current starting quarterback Colt McCoy. But how the deal would go down, late on a Sunday afternoon, admittedly came as a bit of a shock to the pass-rushing Wimbley.
“The way that it went down was kind of a shock,” said Wimbley on a conference call on Wednesday afternoon. “I didn’t expect to get a call from the other team before, you know, I got a call from my own team talking about the trade. It was something that just happened, I was able to come out [to Oakland] and make the transition and I’m enjoying it out here and I love this program.”
When asked about the proverbial “chip on the shoulder,” Wimbley understood that there was a lot of expectations placed upon him given his first-round draft slot. Given that, a new regime prefers to make changes in areas that aren’t doing well – the Browns’ pass-rush definitely left a lot to be desired – with hopes of acquiring draft picks. A 3-4 outside linebacker during his tenure in Cleveland, Kamerion went to Oakland to play defensive end (his position in college) in the Raiders 4-3. Conversely, one year after Wimbley’s departure, the Browns are back in a 4-3 scheme under Dick Jauron.
“I still drop into coverage and I’m still up in a two-point stance in some situations,” said Wimbley of his role in Oakland’s defense. “There’s a lot of similarities to what I did in Cleveland – I can’t say that being in [Cleveland] would be any different.”
After amassing 11 sacks as a rookie out of Florida State, Wimbley saw his production drop during the subsequent seasons, totaling only 15.5 sacks over the next three seasons combined. During his first year in Oakland, Wimbley was able to take that total back up to nine while adding 58 tackles. The former first-rounder said that being able to get back on the right track with the Raiders was something that was very important to him, not just in a proving-the-critics-wrong type of way, but from a personal expectations standpoint.
“When you have other players from other teams coming up to you and basically congratulting me on the success I’ve had here,” Wimbley said, “ hearing that I was possibly going to be a free agent that there were teams that wanted me out there. It was big for me to just gain the respect from other players and people around the league.”
The Raiders must have caught wind of said interest as they recently locked up the six-year veteran to a five-year, $48 million contract extension, avoiding an $11.3 million franchise hit on their 2011 salary cap. With $29 million guaranteed to the rejuvenated defensive end, the Raiders are showing that the trade that took place may have been a bit of a shock to the player and fans alike, but it was certainly one of the rare deals that can be considered a win-win for all parties.