The Cleveland Browns added two veteran receivers yesterday in Miles Austin and Earl Bennett. Neither will be considered #1 type guys, nor will it allow fans to forget that the team passed on a number of receivers in the draft. It is very possible that the Browns would of addressed the position more during early free agency; Julian Edelman, James Jones and others could of been had relatively cheaply, if they were aware of the Josh Gordon suspension.
Instead the Browns have taken an approach more normal for the Cleveland Indians. The Indians have continually over the years taken flyers on pitchers who are coming off injuries, struggled for years past or are off the radar. They take a Scott Kazmir and Daisuke Matsuzaka and put them in competition with a group of young pitchers who are also somewhat off the radar. The hope is either the veteran will rediscover themselves in the low pressure Cleveland air or will rub off on one of the younger pitchers and help them take the next step.
The Browns could still add another receiver, or two, to the pile. Santonio Holmes, Danario Alexander and others could interest the team. Veteran receivers are also bound to be cut during Training Camp and be brought on by the Browns. Andre Johnson is the big name in the trade market but is expensive and would tough to get from the Houston Texans at an appropriate cost given his standing with the team (Think Joe Thomas is 2 or 3 years as his production wains but his name is still huge with fans). The Browns also have a number of young players, through undrafted free agency and the past few years that will fight for time.
While the Browns fans will feel the strain of Gordon’s absence, Ray Farmer is clearly going to build this team from the inside out. Kyle Shanahan will develop a system to put players in the best position to succeed and the Browns will welcome Gordon back whenever he comes. A name to watch is Charles Johnson, yes the player we signed off the Green Bay practice squad who had a torn ACL. Packers fans at the NFL Draft were raving about him and believed their team had big plans for him. Which players will break out of the pack like Kazmir did for the Indians? In Shanahan’s system he tends to give much attention to 1 consistent receiver and the tight end. Besides that he loves a bunch of small, precise route runners to make his system go. Austin and Bennett can make that happen while Travis Benjamin, Charles Johnson and most of the undrafted guys can take the top off the defense. Perfect solution? No, but the Browns have brought in players that will help the culture and will be able to move the chains.
Many of you wanted another #1 guy in the draft, but now that that has passed are you intrigued by the Indians’ pile mentality at receiver? Have you looked at Shanahan’s system and seen how he has used receivers in the past? Are you excited about a high quality running game?