Your 2014 (Offseason) Champion Cleveland Browns: While We’re Waiting

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Tell me how my Ben Tate: So how about these free-spendin’ Browns? While some national types will want to parse apart the $7 million given to Ben Tate this past weekend  (Phil Dawson money!), Cleveland locked up a 25-year-old without much in the way of mileage on his tires. Sure, those tires have had trouble staying affixed for the last few years, but we’re talking about a guy who thrived in a zone blocking scheme in Houston, who will now be given feature-back carries in a similar offense with chip on his shoulder and a chance to prove his worth. Plus, HE’S ONE OF US.

Sign me up.

Speaking of, this may deserve more in the way of an in-depth discussion, but there’s something to be said about the front-loaded nature of these Browns free agent deals. The bulk of Karlos Dansby’s money is up front; Donte Whitner’s appears to be relatively similar. Same can be said for the two-year deal given to Isaiah Trufant and the four-year deal offered to Andrew Hawkins where $10.8 million (of the $13.6 million) will be provided to him in the first two seasons. I don’t have the energy or desire to analyze what the Browns’ situation looks like beyond 2016, but things appear to be mighty flexible. I would imagine this means good things for the Josh Gordons and Joe Haden’s of the world.

Ouch: Talk about a bi-polar road trip. While you were counting sheep, the Cavaliers were shocking the world on a West Coast swing, coming up with wins against the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately for Cleveland and any remote playoff hopes, not only did they fall victim to the always dangerous Los Angeles Clippers, Kyrie Irving may be done for the season with a biceps injury. Brother left Staples Center on Sunday night with his left arm in a sling. Also not helping matters: This week’s schedule brings both the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder to The Q.1 Enjoy the road show, folks.

Ohio State: I’ll obviously be pulling for the Buckeyes this weekend when they look to escape the first two rounds (Yes, they’re the first two rounds—nothing the NCAA will change what normal—read: non-paid individuals—call them), but it will certainly be a tough road. If they can scrape past the Dayton Flyers, they’ll be forced to tackle the zone defense of Syracuse. They may not score 40 points. Someone has to provide the Scarlet and Grey with a consistent scoring option—you can only live on Aaron Craft’s defense for so long. The missed free throws certainly will not help. Here’s a March Madness prediction: Several shades of red emanating from Thad Matta’s high-definition face this weekend. Book it.

And just because… Cricket: A sport Brandon Weeden could actually be good at.

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Footnotes:

  1. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Tristan Thompson who bottomed out in Sunday’s loss, scoring just two points on 1-of-6 shooting with one rebound and three personal fouls in 20 minutes of action. Over the past four games, shooting 8-of-28 from the field with more fouls (12) than combined assists, steals and blocks (nine). Come celebrate his birthday this Thursday! []
  • BenRM

    HAH!!! @ Tell me how my Ben Tate

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Front loading deals is super aggressive and a good way to manage the cap. I’m really psyched about the signings of Tate and Hawkins and the Browns appear to not have spent too much money doing it, but it’s still a risk to think these guys are going to be keys to a respectable NFL offense.

    Again, I love the ideas of both guys, but they are far from sure things at this point. There better be a lot of offense selected in the draft to spread out the risk.

  • mgbode

    You don’t have to do the math to figure out future cap space. These guys do it for you:
    http://overthecap.com/teamcontract.php?Team=Browns

  • mgbode

    Cavs official tanking starts the day the March Madness brackets come out; coincidence?

  • mgbode

    Craig, I agree that we have a ton more work to do. You usually don’t find your key guys in FA. They are the guys who help bolster the key guys you drafted. Let’s take a look at what has been done though.

    Needs going into FA: SS (if we lost Ward), C (if we lost Mack), FS, ILB(x2), CB2, WR2, WR3, TE2, OG(x2), QB, RB1, RB2, FB, and depth (every team)

    Signed FA:
    Donte Whitner (SS -> lost Ward)
    Karlos Dansby (ILB)
    Ben Tate (RB)
    Jim Dray (TE2)
    Isiah Trufant (Depth – CB4/STer)
    Re-signed O’Neil Cousins (Depth – OG, I guess)

    Pending FA:
    Andrew Hawkins (WR3) – RFA signed, Cinci has until 3/18 to match
    Alex Mack (C) – Transition tagged, unsigned

    Lost: Shaun Lauvao (Washington), TJ Ward (Denver)

    Cut: Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, D’Qwell Jackson

    Revised Need List (leaving pending on list):
    C (if we lose Mack), FS,
    ILB, CB2, WR2, WR3, OG(x2), QB, RB2, FB, and depth (every team)

  • boomhauertjs

    Over/under of Tate’s games this year is 8. With Browns’ luck, I’ll bet the under.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ WFNYRick

    Browns did not resign Cousins. He went to Tampa.

  • mgbode

    yes, just saw this myself. could have sworn spotrac said he signed with us. I mis-read (happily, mind you). Fixed above, thanks.

  • Steve_Not_Chad

    I know it seems like pandering, but Ben Tate has to love Cleveland. I don’t think he’s doing this just to get fans on his side, but also for the fact that Cleveland is the city (feel free to sing the last four words) that is making him the number one running back. No more back up duty, he’s the man and he’s certainly showing his gratitude.

  • Steve_Not_Chad

    Eight games? I’ll easily take the over.

  • Hopwin

    I still think we need a full back unless we reconfigure the line/teach them how to run block.

    Edit: I see it on the list now

  • Ronald

    I think we’ll get Hawkins, and he’s one of those super quick slot receivers. It all starts up front; let’s fix the offensive line so Tate can run effectively..