The Browns have been active in the free agent market, mostly addressing the defensive front with the additions of Paul Kruger, Quentin Groves and Desmond Bryant. They also grabbed TE Gary Barnidge.
There are several more positions of need and the Browns still have plenty of money under the cap. In fact, even with the money given to the four free agents above, the team should still have over $30 million dollars available before they hit the $123 million salary cap.
So who is left out there for the Browns to consider?
We know that the Browns are interested in TE Fred Davis. This would be a good addition. He may not be the best TE available, but coming off an Achilles tendon injury, he may be the best value out there. Jared Cook (STL) and Martellus Bennett (CHI) are off the market.
Dustin Keller- the former Jet has reportedly been talking with the Dolphins and is said to have even taken a physical in Miami. Keller’s stats are slightly better than that of Davis, and he had not missed a game until an injury this season. He will turn 30 during the 2013 season.
Dennis Pitta- Pitta had somewhat of a breakout year for the Ravens. He had 61 catches and 7 touchdowns. He will be 29 at the beginning of the season. However, he had a second round tender placed on him, which makes it unlikely that the Browns would pursue him.
Benjamin Watson- Hey, that guy sounds familiar. Watson doesn’t fit the profile the new management wants to pursue, but he will still be an effective player next season. If the Browns don’t get the TE of the future, bringing Watson back would make a lot of sense.
Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jason Campbell. In other words, nothing to see here.
Signed- Mike Wallace (MIA), Wes Welker (DEN), Dwayne Bowe (KC), Danny Amendola (NE), Brian Hartline (MIA)
Greg Jennings is the big name left here. Craig and I discussed the Jennings possibility on a podcast posted Wednesday. Jennings is visiting the Minnesota Vikings, but is said to have interest in Green Bay, Minnesota, Indianapolis and Cleveland. I think the odds of Jennings coming to Cleveland are slim. More than likely Jennings is floating interest in teams with cap space to force the hand of Green Bay.
Victor Cruz- The Giants put a first round tender on the RFA. He’s not going anywhere.
Laurent Robinson- Cut by the Jaguars, Robinson will be playing for his 5th team in 6 years in 2013. His best year was as a cowboy in 2011 when Robinson caught 11 touchdown passes. He parlayed that into a nice contract last season with Jacksonville and suffered from four concussions in 2012.
Darrius Heyward-Bey- Heyward-Bay was set to make $10 million dollars next season if the Raiders didn’t cut him. He is certainly not a $10 million dollar player. Over the last two seasons, he has caught 105 passes for 1,581 yards and 9 touchdowns. Those are respectable numbers for a number 2 or 3 receiver. He certainly has speed. He could be worth a look for the right price.
David Nelson- He may not be a household name, but Nelson is an intriguing player. He has the size (6’5″, 217 lbs.) teams desire, and is only 26 years old. He suffered a knee injury that cost him the 2012 season. This is a guy the Browns could take a gamble on, because it will cost them under $1.5 million. With the cap room they have available, that seems like a drop in the bucket to get a player that caught 92 passes and 8 touchdowns his first 2 years in the league.
The top guys have found teams. Andy Levitre (BUF), Louis Vasquez (SD) and Donald Thomas (NE) all got paid.
Brandon Moore- He’s the top guy left according to all the usual websites.
Geoff Schwartz- As I mentioned in the Banner Report on the offensive line, Geoff is the brother of Browns’ RT Mitchell Schwartz and would be a solid addition to the RG spot.
Kevin Boothe- Another good option that won’t break the bank.
Teams are locking up their own free agents for the most part. Signed are Darrel Young (WAS), Jerome Felton (MIN) and Lex Hilliard (NYJ). The Eagles grabbed arguably the top FB available in James Casey.
Greg Jones- The former Jaguar will be 32 this season. Not exactly what the Browns are looking for in free agents this year.
Corey McIntyre- McIntyre is 34.
Spencer Larsen- Cut by the Patriots after missing the entire 2012 season due to injury. But he’s only 29. So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.
If you have been wondering why the Browns haven’t been addressing the offense so far in free agency, maybe this list gives us the answer.