Peter King‘s MMQB article is a good primer for free agency today. He takes a look at a number of free agents, teams and possible implications of the free agent period. He connects three names to the Browns both based on need and the amount of money they have to spend. The Browns have been quiet so far in all the rumors going around. Could it be the Browns will be actually quiet this off-season or is Mike Pettine/Ray Farmer old school in keeping everything quiet? Lets take a look at the player’s King links to the Browns:
4. Karlos Dansby and Daryl Smith should send D’Qwell Jackson thank-you notes. Dansby is one of the best inside ‘backers in football, and Smith solidified a shaky position group in the absence of Ray Lewis last year in Baltimore. But neither was going to strike it rich in free agency until Jackson signed for $4.5 million a year with Indianapolis last week. Cleveland should jump all over Dansby, who is a good leader and a pass-rusher on par with the best interior linebackers in the league. I think Smith should stay in Baltimore; he’s perfect for the team as a leader and player.
Dansby, and even Smith, could fit great for the Browns. A strong inside backer like Dansby is needed unless the Browns plan to go with young players in Pettine’s first year. Jimmy Haslam’s desire to compete quickly should lead to something happening here. The possibility of moving a OLB like Paul Kruger inside seems to be more likely if nothing happens.
7. Running backs and receivers have fallen to earth with a thud. Used to be backs were sexy pickups in free agency. Now even the prominent ones get no love, mostly because of the way the game is being played and because teams figure they can find adequate ones in the middle or late rounds of the May draft. Knowshon Moreno, Donald Brown and probably Chris Johnson, with young speedster Ben Tate … expect all of them to be disappointed this week. At receiver, Julian Edelman caught 121 balls in the slot for New England last year, but the Patriots seem content to let the former college quarterback seek his fortune elsewhere; could the Jets, in the latest chapter of the border war between these two lovebird franchises, be “elsewhere?” In my mind, a great fit for Edelman would be Cleveland, which has money to spend and a hole at slot receiver. Cleveland could be in the mix for Eric Decker, who needs suitors. Finally, I think the receiver who will get more action than forecasted is Golden Tate.
Edelman is this writer’s favorite, as seen in our 6 Pick of Free Agents. He could fit great in the slot with Josh Gordon on the outside and Jordan Cameron working the seems. Adding Edelman and adding an early wide receiver in the draft, as well as a running back, whether that is Tate, Brown, Moreno or Johnson or adding a running back in the draft, everyone’s favorite Carlos Hyde, would provide a well rounded full offense. Decker may get overpaid this off-season but would be more of a #2 receiver which would make a slot guy, like Brandin Cooks in the draft more of an option.
Of the 3 who would you prioritize? Do you think Decker is a better fit or Edelman? Do you think that Dansby or Smith would be worth the money or will the Browns go young?