Finally with the Super Bowl completed the Browns can get to work trying to get better. They will more than likely do it without blockbusters again this off-season. By that, I mean I don’t expect the strategy to vary wildly. The Browns probably won’t be in any kinds of bidding wars unless they decide that Matt Flynn is their quarterback. It isn’t every year that you have the chance at an intriguing QB prospect in his mid 20s, so that specific case is off the boards. But, other than that, I expect it to look a lot like it did a year ago.
You’ll remember last year’s free agent class featured the likes of Usama Young, Dimitri Patterson and Brandon Jackson.
Patterson was basically the replacement for Eric Wright, so you have to be happy with the results at least based on his first season. The 28 year-old is again a free agent and I expect the Browns to bring him back, but we’ll see. There is certainly a chance that Patterson could compete for the starting corner position opposite Joe Haden next season depending on the aging Sheldon Brown.
Usama Young had an up and down initial season with the Browns beginning with an inability to get on the practice field during training camp. Young ended up having some decent spurts, but also had plenty of forgettable moments. He did seem to get better as the season progressed, but he never made Mike Adams dispensable, which he was supposed to be able to accomplish. Young is 26 and will be here two more seasons, so hopefully he continues to progress.
Finally, the mystery man with the turfiest toe of 2011, Brandon Jackson. He was supposed to be the third down back extraordinairre and the yang to Peyton Hillis’ yin. The man who signed a two-year deal will look to get on the field for the first time this year as he becomes a free agent again in 2013.
These are the types of signings I expect yet again this season. Obviously you hope for better results in terms of health and ability to contribute, but the strategy holds. The Browns will be looking for guys in their 20s who will be below the marquee salary levels. So even if Mario Williams leaves Houston, I wouldn’t expect the Browns to break the bank. Although, he is only 27, so he fits the profile from that respect, I still don’t expect it.
As Rick talked about yesterday with the receivers though, I think a Pierre Garcon could be the kind of guy the Browns could target to help a struggling receiving corps. The 25 year-old won’t be in the market for Vincent Jackson money and he has shown a real ability to stretch the field, make big plays and play with serious attitude. Plus, Garcon had a career year in terms of receptions (70) and yards (947) in a year catching passes from Dan Orlovsky and Curtis Painter after the Kerry Collins debacle was ended.
So, we’ll see. Whoever it is hopefully the Browns can hit better than 1.5 out of 3 as they did a year ago with Patterson (1), Young (0.5) and Jackson (0.)
Image via WFNY