Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Cleveland Browns Cut Players and Salaries

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   For some time, the Village Elliot has been trying to explain that Uncle Jimmy Haslam and the Browns may be short of operating capital. Because of the rebate scandal that hit Pilot Flying J just at the same time that they bought out rival Flying J for a billion dollars, AND they bought the Browns for a billion dollars, AND they expanded the number of new stations AND revenues are tighter than ever as truckers become more sophisticated at selecting low price sources of diesel.  Pilot Flying J has plenty of assets, but possibly not operating capital, and my guess is that the banks may not want to give them a short term loan while they are under the threat of a federal indictment.  So far, the Cleveland media (never mind the national media) has not caught on, but the fact of the matter is that the Browns halted their free agent spending before getting the defensive backfield help that they desperately need.
   Now they cut backup running back Brandon Jackson (saving $700 K) and tight end Kellen Davis (saving another $700 K), replacing both of them with undrafted rookies at the league minimum.  No attempt to sign Jonathan Dwyer, a competent free agent running back, even though the Browns are millions of dollars under the cap.  Hence the Browns are pathetically thin behind Trent Richardson, and they have not gone out to get blockers for him at fullback and tight end.   

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Trent, please stay healthy!  There is no backup plan if TRich goes down.   

   Understand, it's not that Haslam and Pilot Flying J have no assets.  They have plenty of gas stations, trucks and other great assets that are worth lots of money.  But it's operating capital that is short, and to convert assets to operating capital you need a bank to help.  I don't think the banks are going to play however, realizing that company could be under a federal indictment soon. So maybe there is no operating capital available to Jimmy Haslam right now.  

   I conclude that indeed the Browns need to save cash, and thus they are shedding payroll instead of adding it as they should.  They should be signing defensive backs, a fullback, a second running back, a second tight end, a kicker and anybody else that can play football.  But the Browns are not going to spend the few million dollars that it would take to give them depth at these positions.  Likely, this means that they will not recover if some of their key players get injured. 

   If so, we may be looking at another 4 or 5 win season, despite having some real talent in the defensive front seven and in the passing offense.   But don't worry, Uncle Jimmy is going to be all right, as they have hopefully shed enough payroll to make ends meet for a while.  

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Joe Banner and Jimmy Haslam laugh at suggestions that the team is short on operating capital.  

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