April 23, 2014

Jimmy Haslam stops just short of guaranteeing Alex Mack will be back

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The Cleveland Browns are in the news today because many associated with the team were on the “orange carpet” last night for a local premier of Kevin Costner’s Draft Day movie. Mary Kay Cabot was there as well and she got some comments from Jimmy Haslam that back up much of what we’ve all been thinking recently about Alex Mack and his situation as a transition tag-ee.

“We remain optimistic that Alex Mack will be a Cleveland Brown for a long time,” Haslam said on the “orange carpet” at the local premiere of Draft Day at Cinemark Valley View theaters. “We want him to be. I think we’ve made it very clear that he’s the kind of person, the kind of player we want in our organization.’

Asked specifically if he’d match any offer the Jaguars concoct, he smiled and said, “We want Alex to be a Cleveland Brown.”

Obviously that last sentence isn’t a guarantee that he’ll match any offer, but it’s characteristically confident for Jimmy Haslam and indicates to me that he agrees with the rest of us. There’s very little possibility of Alex Mack signing an offer sheet that would be unpalatable to the Cleveland Browns. The bottom line is that Alex Mack can’t get a team to sign up for something that they wouldn’t also be prepared to live with themselves. This is the beauty of a salary-capped world. There’s no Yankees offer out there that’s 30% higher because a team can just afford more than the Browns.

And for that reduced flexibility and lack of free will, Alex Mack guarantees that he’ll get paid at least $10 million. We’re talking about a man who has made somewhere around $14.5 million over the first five years of his career. Of course he wants more guaranteed money and maybe even a chance to play somewhere else, but the trade-off isn’t that much of a hostage situation with the transition tag compensation.

[Related : Alex Mack wants to play for a passionate fan base, visits Jacksonville]

Keith Olbermann proposes Indians rename the team the Cleveland Sockalexis

The coverage of the Cleveland Indians and their Wahoo logo continues both here on WFNY and nationally. Many people have suggested new names whether it’s going back in time to the Spiders or embracing the Feller logo and calling the team the Cleveland Fellers. Keith Olbermann really does have some interesting historical info in this piece and then he suggests the Cleveland Sockalexis. I prefer the Fellers, but the history part is still interesting.

[Also see: Andrew's thoughts from this morning's WWW]

Alex Mack might have missed the party

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Four weeks ago, before millions and millions of NFL free agency dollars were committed, Alex Mack’s agent got boastful with Peter King who wrote it up for his MMQB column. It caused anyone with half a memory for the NFL to go searching for rule books and articles in Google with the keyword “poison pill” as the discerning criteria. And as a thousand Internet researchers hit the enter key to confirm their inklings that “poison pill” contracts were illegal, it was easy to imagine Mack’s agent sitting somewhere with his eyes shut tightly and with his fingers crossed that somehow he could will the reality of the situation away. It’s hard to conclude anything other than the notion that Alex Mack wants out of Cleveland, but it’s even harder to conclude that he’ll find his way out this year.

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Captain America the Winter Soldier plus Chief Wahoo on opening day – WFNY Podcast – 2014-04-07

WFNY Podcast LogoSpoiler alert! Brian and Craig both enjoyed Captain America 2. We discuss that movie in depth and how Marvel continues to impress with their massive film undertaking.

We also spoke about the viral photo that came out of the first day of Brian’s filming of the Chief Wahoo documentary he is making.

 


Check out this episode!

The Wahoo debate has changed, but where do the Indians stand?

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There’s something vastly different about the Chief Wahoo debate this year. The protests have been going on at Opening Day for years, but the movement spawned a new arm since last season. There’s a new @DeChiefWahoo Twitter account that doesn’t have a ton of followers, but don’t be mistaken: This debate has moved beyond those activists directly impacted and into the fan base. Last week, I spoke with Brian Spaeth about the film he was making at the, but he never even had a chance to get any footage out before a photo from the scene by Peter Pattakos of Cleveland Frowns went viral. This site and others have talked about the Cleveland Indians and Chief Wahoo plenty already, so I’ll skip covering that same ground again. There’s one overriding feeling that I can’t help but focus on: The Cleveland Indians — most notable the Dolan family — is failing to lead on this issue.

[Read more...]

Browns reportedly agree to terms with Nate Burleson

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The Browns thought they had a reliable veteran receiver when they traded for Davone Bess last season. That didn’t work out all that well for the Browns as Bess turned into what appeared to be a pot-smoking rastafarian via his own social media presence. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Browns have found a new veteran as they’ve agreed to terms with Nate Burleson.

Burleson comes with his own problems, of course. He’s only been able to play 15 games in the last two seasons. Burleson has also only had one season of 1000 yards and that occurred an awful long time ago back in 2004.

None of this means Burleson can’t help for a year or so in Cleveland, of course. The 32-year-old former third rounder has had a long career and certainly knows what it takes to be a receiver in the NFL. We’ll see if he can find a way to contribute alongside Josh Gordon, newly signed Andrew Hawkins and whoever the Browns are likely to draft next month.

Speaking of Josh Gordon, he and Kyrie Irving are supposedly fighting.

[Related: The drama continues: Kyrie Irving calls out Josh Gordon]

(Photo Jason Miller / Getty Images)

Windhorst: “LeBron and Kyrie have drifted apart”

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving

Brian Windhorst has no shortage of interesting things to say about the Cavaliers. He has so much to say that I had trouble even figuring out just one thing to put here. There’s talk of dinner meetings with Isiah Thomas that has the potential to make Cavs fans hurl. There’s talk about whether it’s worth it to extend Tristan Thompson. Most notably there’s lots and lots of disappointed talk about an “immature” Kyrie Irving. Most notably though, the former Cavs beat writer says that if the Cavs have any designs on LeBron James spending any part of his remaining career in Cleveland that future won’t include Kyrie Irving.

I’m just giving you my feel right now and my feel is that (Kyrie’s) not crazy about [signing the full max extension] unless he gets everything checked off across the board.

And the other thing is: if the Cavs ever dream of having LeBron, it’s not going to be with Kyrie there. LeBron and Kyrie have drifted apart in the last few years, even to the point that if the Cavs wanted to get LeBron they would maybe trade Kyrie for someone who would fit better with LeBron. And I’m not making that up. That line of thinking was not originated by me. That’s just the truth.

And here I think most Cavaliers fans who have ever spent even small moments thinking about the possibility of LeBron returning assumed that it would take a running mate like Kyrie Irving to make the situation more attractive. Granted any dreams of LeBron returning seemed a lot more feasible (even remotely) before the Cavaliers had such a disappointing season this year.

It just gets further and further down a road where it seems like the pain and suffering of Cavaliers over the past few years was all for nothing. Yes, there seems to be some talent on this team, but if that talent doesn’t translate to team success, isn’t it just wasted talent?

Even worse than wasted talent is the by-product for Cavs fans. That’s a whole lot of wasted time.

(Photo: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Paternity leave, Danny Salazar, and an update on The League… While We’re Waiting

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While we’re waiting? I really left you waiting this week. Sorry for the delay. [Read more...]

Jennifer Garner talks about shadowing Browns capologist Megan Rogers for Draft Day

Draft Day is coming out on April 11th and I really can’t wait. Granted I’m only excited because this movie is about the Browns, but if you can’t trust Kevin Costner to make a decent sports flick, who can you trust?

Oh, and Jennifer Garner is rarely a chore to watch on-screen either.

Here she is talking (without an interviewer) about the upcoming movie, including how she was shadowing Browns capologist Megan Rogers.

John Axford used to play a game that included ABC gum

It’s a really really old joke.

“Hey, do you have some gum?”

“Sure! I have some ABC gum.”

“A B C gum? What’s that?”

“Already Been Chewed.”

Before John Axford was the Cleveland Indians’ closer, he proved to be pretty creative in terms of finding ways to pass the time as a professional pitcher. Apparently he and teammate Burke Badenhop weren’t above making up their own games, even if it meant involving ABC Gum. Jonah Keri told us all about it on Grantland last year in his Baseball Dictionary piece.

Re-mouth (exp.) — the act of sticking a piece of gum in your mouth after it has hit the ground. The term was coined by pitchers Burke Badenhop and John Axford in reference to a game they invented to pass the time during batting practice. In that game, Badenhop chews a giant wad of gum, spits it out of his mouth, then kicks the wad toward Axford, who’s standing about eight yards away. Axford must then hit the wad of gum out of midair with a water bottle, back toward Badenhop, who then attempts to catch it. When Badenhop fails in his initial attempt to kick the gum, he may then pick the gum off the outfield grass and reinsert it into his mouth for another attempt, hence “re-mouth.” The game itself does not have a name, and Grantland readers are highly encouraged to suggest candidates.

There’s no word yet on if Axford has brought the game with him to Cleveland. Burke Badenhop is now a member of the Boston Red Sox, so maybe when the Tribe and Sox clash this year, they can bring it back.

The 31-year-old Axford is off to a pretty good start in his Tribe career with two saves in two opportunities over the Indians’ first three games. If he keeps pitching like that, he can make up any games he wants. I’m sure fans in the stands will be willing to play with him, even if it includes chewed gum that has hit the floor.

Colt McCoy signs with the Washington Redskins

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Colt McCoy wasn’t out of work long. The former Browns quarterback has never been able to find tons of success in the NFL, but the backup QB game isn’t so bad. Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Derek Anderson, Colt McCoy? All of them have been able to find rosters at least for this year’s training camp.

I’ll never get used to NFL teams reporting their own news with “BREAKING” as a descriptor. Anyway…

The financial details haven’t come out yet, and McCoy will certainly have his work cut out for him on a roster featuring RG3 and Kirk Cousins already. Even if he doesn’t make it to the roster for the regular season, I wouldn’t bet against Colt McCoy getting a job as a backup somewhere.

For all the warts on his résumé, I will always consider Colt McCoy a player of value. No, he’s apparently not starter quality in the NFL, but for whatever reason, I’ll always look back on his tenure more fondly than that of Brandon Weeden’s or even Derek Anderson’s. That’s not much of a contest to win, of course, but congrats to him for winning it just the same.

It must be the snake-wrangling photo.

[Related: Browns brass becomes bystanders for Blake Bortles’ ballgame]

DeSean Jackson evades Browns “aggressive” pursuit, agrees with Redskins

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The headline of this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek. We might never find out if the Browns were truly “aggressively” pursuing DeSean Jackson. What we do know is that Jackson’s agent was aggressively pursuing a deal for his client and according to reports this morning, he found a deal in Washington.

Darren Heitner of Forbes.com has reported that the deal is worth $24 million over three years, with $16 million guaranteed.  And that’s $16 million fully guaranteed.  Upon signing.  Money in the bank.

So, did the Browns really miss out on this? It all depends on if you believe they were actually in on it to begin with. The argument about whether they should have been is almost moot at this point. I really just want to know if they were. My favorite tweet on the topic came last night just before 8 p.m. after a whole day of hearing the prospects get bandied about on the Internet and sports talk radio.

Come to think of it, it really was pretty quiet on the rumor front after the Browns had been initially linked to the pursuit.

The thing that I couldn’t help but think about once I heard the details of DeSean Jackson’s deal is what I wrote recently about what the experience of trading for Dolphins’ wideout Mike Wallace might be like financially. We know that Jackson got what amounts to a two-year deal for $16 million with a chance that the Redskins could possibly keep him for a third year for another $8 million. I modified Wallace’s deal to include a new signing bonus to make it more cap friendly, the best I could do was make his contract into what amounts to a two-year deal for just over $22 million. And few would try to debate the idea that Wallace is as good as DeSean Jackson.

Even if someone could convince me that Mike Wallace is comparable or better than DeSean Jackson, I have a difficult time believing that he’s worth an extra $6 million over the next two years.

Good for the Redskins I guess. And maybe bad for the Browns. You know, if they were ever in on it at all.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

In the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns should consolidate picks

2012 NFL Draft

The Cleveland Browns have a lot of picks in the 2014 NFL draft, but they don’t need 10 new players by the time the weekend is done. The Browns have plenty of needs and should do plenty of work to address those needs in the draft, but more important than anything, they need as many star-level players as possible. I know a lot of this sounds very obvious, but I get the sense that because many think of this as a “deep” draft that the idea of trading down has become palatable to increase the number of picks. While I can’t lay out an actual game plan for what I want the Browns to do, as a general rule for this draft, I’m less interested in having all those third- and fourth-round picks become players than I am seeing if they could be consolidated into one or two picks in higher rounds.

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GIF: Grady Sizemore hits his first homer for the Boston Red Sox

All the king’s horsemen and all the king’s men couldn’t put Grady Sizemore back together again in Cleveland. In case you missed it, though, Grady is back and the former Tribe phenom won the center field job in Boston. Honestly, despite the joke, I couldn’t be happier for Grady Sizemore who only ever wanted to be great for the Indians. I feel sad to see him play in another team’s uniform, but good for him. He’s off to a good start. Here’s his homer in his first game with the Red Sox.

[Related: 2014 WFNY Tribe Predictions]

Indians open 2014 season at 17 in ESPN MLB power rankings

Terry Francona had much to celebrate in 2013 (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfel)

Power rankings aren’t interesting to everyone. I tend to be a power rankings front runner. I love to look at them when my team is performing well, and barely pay attention to them when they’re not. For whatever reason, I thought to look at them today just before the Indians start real games, and the Tribe is standing number 17 in the starting gates to the 2014 MLB season. For reference, Vegas odds for the Tribe to win the World Series are 50/1.

Around the Tribe’s division, Detroit is not-so-surprisingly ranked tops in the A.L. Central. They are ranked sixth. Vegas odds have the Tigers as 9/1 odds to win the World Series.

Next up, the Kansas City Royals hold lucky number 13 ahead of the Tribe. Their World Series odds are 45/1.

As I said, the Tribe were 17 and then the White Sox, who are 100/1 to win the World Series according to Vegas, are 27 to start the year in ESPN’s MLB power rankings.

[Related: 2014 WFNY Tribe Predictions]

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(AP Photo/Ann Heisenfel)

LeBron James is rightfully jealous of Miguel Cabrera’s new contract

Miguel CabreraReally, who isn’t jealous of Miguel Cabrera’s new contract? His existing deal plus the eight-year extension will pay him close to $300 million in total. Last week, when asked about it by Brian Windhorst, LeBron James said he was jealous of that money, before saying he wishes the NBA “didn’t have a salary cap.”

“He’s the best player in baseball, and the best players in each sport should be rewarded,” James said. “It’d be nice to sign a 10-year deal worth $300 million.”

Of course nobody should feel sorry for LeBron James who earns lots and lots of money in his own right between the NBA and endorsements. Still, consider LeBron’s talent level and his stature in his game as one of about 450 or so players in his league.1 Meanwhile Miguel Cabrera is easily one of the best players in his game, but he’s also one of about 1,300 players in his league.2 So, it does seem a little bit strange that Cabrera could be worth double in overall contract value than Kobe Bryant who once signed a deal for seven years and just over $136 million.

I’ve suggested that one of the ways that the NBA can deal with player movement would be to have a franchise tag for one player on each roster. This franchised player wouldn’t be subject to the salary cap at all. So your team could have a roster of players that need to cost under $70 million for example, but then if you have a Kobe, or LeBron, you can pay them true market value. I haven’t worked out all the particulars, but each team can only have one of these guys making that tag scarce and inflating the value of playing in smaller markets for at least that one player who could be designated. It also might do wonders to break up super teams.

Anyway, it makes me wonder what LeBron James’ true market value might be to his sport considering Miguel Cabrera’s worth $300 million in his sport. Everyone said that the Miami Heat “sacrificed” to put their team together down in Miami. Imagine if they really had to sacrifice though. Imagine if LeBron was making $45 million per year as the “franchise” player and Wade and Bosh had to fight for the right to make $20 million each under the cap while also having teammates.

More importantly, would $45 million even be enough for LeBron’s true market value?

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

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Footnotes:

  1. 30 teams times 15 players per team, give or take turnover and the developmental league. []
  2. 32 teams times 40 players is 1280. []

Video: SNL roasts Stephen A. Smith

Jay Pharoah was absolutely hysterical as he took a shot at doing Stephen A. Smith last night on Weekend Update. I even enjoyed when he lost his composure and cracked a small laugh and a smile. The only downside to this clip? It didn’t include last night’s host Louis C.K. who had some really hysterical bits.

GIFs: Three Tribe homers from Saturday

The Tribe lost 9-8 against the San Diego Padres on Saturday in one of the final warmups before the season begins. In the loss Jason Kipnis hit a bomb and Matt Carson did twice accounting for two runs and five RBI.

First, here’s Kipnis’ shot.

Here’s Matt Carson’s first homer.

Here’s Matt Carson’s second homer.

The Tribe’s value, Johnny Football pro day, Doug Stanhope and Manchester Orchestra… While We’re Waiting

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It’s Friday so that mean’s it’s my time with WWW. Just wanted to plug the podcast first before I start though. It was a good week of podcasts, so please make sure you check them out[Read more...]

Brian Spaeth talks summer movies, the Cavaliers and his Wahoo movie project – WFNY Podcast – 2014-03-27

WFNY Podcast LogoIt’s always fun to have Brian Spaeth on the podcast and this time he happened to be in the neighborhood so we did it in person.

First things first, we talked about Brian’s movie project that he will be doing about Chief Wahoo. If you would like to talk about your pro or anti-Wahoo stances on camera, please follow this link to Brian’s site.

We talked about the summer movie season starting with Captain America. Somehow we forgot to talk about Draft Day, but there’ll be plenty of time for that later.

Lastly, we talked about anything and everything else we could think of just like Brian and I always seem to do. The time just flew by for me. Hopefully it does for you too.

Check out this episode!