WWBD – What will Banner do?

Gordon and Cameron

Gordon and CameronIt is no secret that the Browns are still a team in transition, building for the future. Team President and GM Mike Lombardi have already shown they have their own agenda and anyone who was brought in during the run of the previous regime shouldn’t feel safe.

Today at 4:00 PM, the NFL has its trade deadline. It has been no secret that certain members of the team have appeal and could be had for the right price. If you don’t think that Banner isn’t shopping players despite what his coach Rob Chudzinski said yesterday, then you are fooling yourself.  You didn’t think Trent Richardson was going to go anywhere either did you? 

While I think that the Browns will probably stay put and not make any deals, here are six candidates to get sent packing should Banner get the right price.

Josh Gordon – This is not exactly news. Gordon is clearly the most talented receiver this city has seen since Webster Slaughter and Reggie Langhorne. They have been searching for years to find a legitimate deep threat and they finally have one. Of course, Josh comes with baggage and is just one strike away from a full year suspension should he violate the league’s banned substance policy.

The threat of suspension is actually a blessing and a curse for Gordon and the Browns. If you are Banner you may look at Gordon’s ability and know that you can get at least second round pick for him, but many teams look at his off the field problems and get scared off. You also may not trust him one bit and know he is one more slip up away from losing a full year on the field. Would a team like the Detroit Lions who would LOVE a guy like Gordon playing across from Calvin Johnson, take a shot? What about the New England Patriots who are badly in need of a big play receiver? Bill Belichick is after all the new Father Flanagan of the NFL. Hey, the Colts need a WR with Reggie Wayne lost for the season. Why not call up Ryan Grigson again?

I think the threat of suspension keeps Gordon in Cleveland, which is fine by me.

Jordan Cameron – Like Gordon, Cameron is the type of athletic, pass catcher that this offense is built for. So why is his name out there in trade rumors? Well, because he was a Tom Heckert/Mike Holmgren draft pick and if the right price comes along, can be replaced. Cameron has flourished this season under the former Tight End Chudzinski and has tremendous hands. Teams like the Chiefs or even the Patriots, who love to run two TE sets and have badly missed Aaron Hernandez’s on field prowess, would be thrilled to have him. If an offer of a third rounder came across for Cameron, would Banner bite? I bet he would.

Jabaal Sheard – Up until he got hurt, Sheard had really taken the switch from Defensive End to 3-4 Outside Linebacker. While he has looked good when healthy, Banner drafted right over him with Barkevious Mingo. I am a Sheard fan, but if the Browns have one depth unit to trade from, it is the defensive line/outside LB positions.

As my friend @ClevTA mentioned yesterday, the Buffalo Bills are said to be shopping their stud safety Jarius Byrd. You know what the Browns could use? A safety. Sheard for Byrd, who says no?  The only negative with acquiring Byrd, he is a free agent at the end of the season and the Browns could not negotiate a long term deal with him until after the season, per the terms of his contract. If they chose to tag him, he would cost $8.3 million in 2014.

Phil Taylor – I sound like a broken record here. Taylor is a nice player but a guy that was drafted by the previous regime. He has handled the 3-4 switch nicely, but with Ahtyba Rubin easily able to handle that nose tackle spot, should a team come along looking for a run stopper and offer up a second or third round pick, I think Banner would have zero problems sending Taylor packing. I will bring up the Patriots again. They lost Vince Wilfork for the season and their defense hasn’t been the same since up front. Wilfork is also going to be 32 years old next year and will be coming off of a torn achilles. Taylor would be the perfect replacement.

Alex Mack – I know this sounds like blasphemy, but keep in mind that everyone expected Mack to have been signed to a long term contract extension by now. He never has. In fact, there has been almost no talk about it from the front office. Banner and his staff may not value Mack the way others in the league do. He is a Pro Bowl caliber player and a rock in the middle of the line. Mack is a solid performer who looks like a guy who should anchor the Browns offensive line for his entire career. Instead, Alex doesn’t know where he stands with the new regime.

Think about the bevy of teams with offensive line problems. If you watched the Seahawks/Rams game last night, you saw the a Seattle line that was getting abused. Seattle’s center Max Unger is no great shakes. Mack would be a solid fit there. What about the Denver Broncos who have had injuries mangle their line? Their center is Manny Ramirez, who was signed as a backup.Both Dan Koppen and J.D. Walton, ahead of Ramirez on the depth chart this summer, are out; Koppen for the season and Walton who may return at some point. Mack would be an upgrade to all.

Greg Little – Talk about a guy who can be had for a song. I think the Browns would take any sort of middle round pick for the former second round pick out of North Carolina. His hands are always a question and his focus can be spotty at times. There are plenty of receiver hungry teams out there as we mentioned above. Little is nothing spectacular and can be easily replaced. I wonder though if the injury to Travis Benjamin keeps him in Cleveland.

 (photo via Pioneer Press: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo)

  • Harv 21

    TD, your major theme here is that the previous regime’s players may be moved simply because of that – curious what makes you think that. They’ve given Weeden every shot, they didn’t draft a TE in order to feature Cameron, Skrine is starting while McFadden is invisible, they’re forcing Mingo to earn playing time ahead of Sheard … and dumping Richardson looks more and more like an objectively sound football trade.

  • Bryan

    This type of logic does not hold water and is, frankly, silly: “If you don’t think that Banner isn’t shopping players despite what his coach Rob Chudzinski said yesterday, then you are fooling yourself. You didn’t think Trent Richardson was going to go anywhere either did you?”

    T-Rich was dealt because the Colts offered a one-sided deal in the Browns favor. That doesn’t mean Banner was “shopping” him. It means Banner is willing to pull the trigger on a deal when a team overpays for a mediocre player.

    Similarly, I don’t think Banner is “shopping” Gordon (or any other player). However, if some team wants to overpay for Gordon, I am sure he will listen. This is true for any GM at any point in time. It does not mean they are “shopping” their players. It means they are doing the basics of their job.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I recall reading that one of the reasons why the Browns still have X amount of cap room this season is because they know they are going to have resign guys like Mack, Haden and Ward (all mentioned quite specifically.) Man…sometimes I wish I had better internet access at work so that I could search out some of these articles. LOL

  • BenRM

    Wouldn’t keeping Taylor and shopping Rubin (instead of the opposite) fit better with the FO’s philosophy of younger players instead of more expensive veterans.

    Sure, Taylor is the more attractive option for other teams, but he is more attractive to the Browns for the same reason. I would imagine you’d see Hughes or Kitchen moved before Taylor if no one would want Rubin.

  • Kersh

    I think they are listening, but for this team to trade Cameron or Jordan for less than a 1st is stupid. I think you always have to think replacement value. RB can be had most anywhere and are devalued, so 1st for Richardson was a good deal. Anything less than a first or 2nd for our two best players wouldn’t be, unless you think you can find equal value in a lower round. We got lucky with Cameron in the 4th and Gordon might have been a 1st if he hadn’t had issues, but was probably slotted correctly by Heckert in the 2nd. So Taylor for a low pick probably not, but getting a team to give us a 4th or 5th for Kitchen, not a bad trade. I think Hoyer/Campbell showed this team may have a nucleus of young players, you can constantly be starting over. You have to keep some of your talent especially if you have them cheap for the next 2-3 years.

  • Robert Sass

    Why trade away guys you have to replace? Trent Richardson needed to be replaced if we kept him or not (i.e. he wasn’t a first round talent). However, if we trade away Gordon or Cameron, they would have to be replaced by players at least as good (if not better). By the mere fact we have not had a receiver since Slaughter of Gordon’s abilities, means he must stay. I don’t care that Cameron was not a first or second round pick. We trade Cameron, we have to get a player equal to or better than Cameron to come out ahead. (And something much more than a 3rd rounder). This team has placed too much emphasis on the draft for too long because of poor draft picks. Cameron and Gordon were solid picks, both are young, and both can be productive browns for a LONG time. Even trading Gordon for a first round pick is risky, who is to say we don’t draft a player not as good as Gordon as a first rounder? Knowing the Browns, odds are they get a first rounder for Gordon and get a Massoquoi level player in the draft. Unless GORDON gets suspended for a year, it is a HUGE risk to trade him.
    If Gordon tested positive for pot and not codeine, I would feel slightly different. Not much…

  • bossman09

    Holy crap, I can’t believe you wrote this. Seriously, you should suspend yourself for at least 2 weeks.
    “You know who should be traded? anyone who you get us a disproportionate value – Anyone”. How does this even make sense when you wrote this? every single person on the team can and should be traded if you get more value then that are worth. And who really cares if we can “survive” without them. We are not a playoff contended and no one on this roster is irreplaceable. Heck, there are probably only 6-8 people in the entire NFL who qualify for that title (manning, luck, Brees, Rogers) and that’s it.
    I can’t believe I read 1/2 of this article…

  • Harv 21

    hey, Josh, you’re still a Brown! Woo, party time! … wait …

    http://nfl.si.com/2013/10/29/nfl-trade-rumors-josh-gordon-tony-gonzalez-2/?sct=hp_t2_a2&eref=sihp

  • mgbode

    it would be funnier if you were talking about Cribbs

  • mgbode

    2nd for Gordon
    3rd for Cameron
    2nd or 3rd for Taylor
    no mention on needed return for Mack
    song for Greg Little

    Ok, the first three are silly. Let’s start with Taylor who is a cheaper option with a longer contract than Rubin. If we are going to trade one of them, it’s not the dominant young one (and not for a 2nd day pick). A 2nd for Gordon isn’t as crazy, but his value to our team is still greater than that pick IMO. A 3rd for Jordon? Really? Unless Norv/Chud can just make any TE look as good as he does (ok, maybe), then there’s no way we trade him. And, another 2nd day pick?

    Trading Mack would be understandable, but we’d get no value with his contract situation and our OL might get people killed w/o him. Little cannot beat out Bess for a starting spot, so I’m guessing it’s not a particularly good song we’d get for him.

  • Browns fan

    How can you write this with a straight face “Team President and GM Mike Lombardi have already shown they have their own agenda and anyone who was brought in during the run of the previous regime shouldn’t feel safe.”. They are not stupid people sitting there. At the end of the day they will do what is best for the team not because they did not draft the guy. Other than a elite QB nobody else is untouchable because it is business. When some desperate team offer more than they worth (like Trent deal), you take it.

  • nj0

    Lets see what’s in the box…. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

  • Kildawg

    I think Banner ultimately inks Mack to a good deal in the offseason, especially since Mack has helped Joe Thomas solidify the OL; can’t put spotty guard play on Mack. Look who he’s held in check this year.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    So, it appears that Banner did the smart thing. Listen to offers, accept nothing that doesn’t benefit the Browns long term. I don’t see the long term benefits of any of the ridiculous proposals listed above in the article. I do see the long term benefit to trading Trent Richardson for a 1st round pick. Greg Little is probably the only expendable person listed.

  • woofersus

    All this speculation has been like the opposite of usual homer trade proposals. Yes, teams don’t give up 1st round picks easily. They also don’t give up young players that are performing well easily unless their contract or locker room situation demands it. Hence, not many NFL trading deadline deals. I get that some team presidents and GM’s have a desire to remake the roster in their preferred image no matter what talent is already there. Those are what are known as BAD team presidents and GM’s. We’ve had our fill of that over the years.

    Most of the speculated deals here would have made the team worse! You can’t replace those guys with the picks proposed. One of the best TE’s in the league statistically this year for a 3rd rounder? Just because somebody else drafted him? I hope you were snickering when you wrote that. A former first round pick starting at nose tackle and performing well for a 2nd or 3rd round pick? If that’s the going rate, then we should get in on that action. Never make a pick again, I say. A young starting OLB for a 2 month rental who will cost something around 10x as much to keep? Ludicrous.

  • woofersus

    Perhaps Banner is from the Chris Grant school of trades. (only make them when we’re clearly winning) Trade a 4th round pick for a (relatively high) 3rd round pick? Yes please. A 5th round pick for a 4th round pick? Absolutely. Trade an underperforming running back for a 1st rounder? Every time.

  • woofersus

    My concern is that maybe they already talked contract and his asking price was too high. They aren’t going to give a center Joe Thomas money. Then again, maybe Mack wasn’t sure he wanted to be in Cleveland after all the 3 win seasons. I’m hoping their interests align at an acceptable price this offseason.

  • nj0

    What is crazy to me is that those are pretty close to the going rates, apparently. Sometimes I think draft picks are overvalued by front offices.

  • woofersus

    Sometimes, yes, although admittedly the value of high draft picks is more than it once was because they no longer carry the salary cap implications they once did. Most trades of players for draft picks that you see are players that a team needs to get rid of for one reason or another. When the buyer just wants to add a talented player, the prices are much higher. (see the Percy Harvin and Brandon Marshal trades) Clearly our FO felt any trades for our players would be the latter type.

  • Chris McLafferty

    Sorry I’m just seeing this but this is the type of un-researched, lack of any thought articles that keeps me away from visiting this site every day. Oh! they’re thinking of trading him because they’re not “their” guys. What a stupid discussion. Do you remember Cameron getting any playing time with the guys who drafted him? No. This regime cleared the way knowing he had the talent, with places like you and ESPNCleveland constantly saying we needed to upgrade the TE position. This is just one of MANY things obnoxious about this article. Please use common sense before writing anymore. Thanks in advance.

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  • sina

    I think they are listening, but for this team to trade Cameron or Jordan
    for less than a 1st is stupid. I think you always have to think
    replacement value. RB can be had most anywhere and are devalued, so
    1st for Richardson was a good deal. Anything less than a first or 2nd
    for our two best players wouldn’t be, unless you think you can find
    equal value in a lower round. We got lucky with Cameron in the 4th and
    Gordon might have been a 1st if he hadn’t had issues, but was probably
    slotted correctly by Heckert in the 2nd. So Taylor for a low pick
    probably not, but getting a team to give us a 4th or 5th for Kitchen,
    not a bad trade. I think Hoyer/Campbell showed this team may have a
    nucleus of young players, you can constantly be starting over. You have
    to keep some of your talent especially if you have them cheap for the
    next 2-3 years.

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  • sina