Monday, October 21, 2013

Browns Cheapskate Ways Coming Back to Haunt Them

   The Cleveland Browns are the cheapest team in the NFL, judging by the amount of money under the salary cap.  The Browns are $26 million dollars under the salary cap. They most famously unloaded Trent Richardson's salary by trading him to the Indianapolis Colts.  This may be a good move in 2014, but it is just another sign that the Browns have given up on 2013.  

    Other signs include the failure to retain a quality wide receiver like David Nelson, a 6'5" experienced slot receiver who recently signed with the New England Patriots after being cut by the Browns.  The Village Elliot has repeatedly pointed out that the Browns have been unloading payroll ever since the rebate scandal erupted at Pilot Flying J.  This has recently received national media attention (see Did the Browns Trade Richardson Because of Haslam's Legal Problems? ), though most Cleveland Browns fans still seem to believe that the Browns are just fine except for the quarterback position.

  In any case, the Browns saved themselves upwards of a hal million dollars by cutting Nelson and signing an undrafted rookie free agent to take his place.   Nelson is not an All-Pro, but he did catch four balls for 80 yards for the Jets yesterday. Ditto for blocking tight end Kellen Davis who is playing well for the Seattle Seahawks.  Both Nelson and Davis were signed as free agents earlier this year and then cut after the Pilot Flying J scandal broke.  Then too, Josh Cribbs was shown the door after last season, but after rehabbing an injury he has resurfaced with the New York Jets and looked good returning punts.  Perhaps that is just a coincidence. And perhaps it is a coincidence that the Browns are $26 million dollars under the salary cap, right?
Blocking Tight End Kellen Davis was mysteriously cut after signing as a free agent with the Browns, thus saving Jimmy Haslam some money.  He is doing okay for the Seattle Seahawks.  

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Wide receiver David Nelson caught four balls for 80 yards against the New England Patriots yesterday.  He was also signed as a free agent and then cut by the Browns after the Pilot Flying J scandal broke.  Haslam pocketed a half a mil after Nelson left.
Brandon Jackson is another mid tier backup who was re-signed by the Browns and then cut, saving a few bucks for Mr. Haslam. Jackson is still available, which might be of interest to a team that lost Trent Richardson.  

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Josh Cribbs was signed by the Jets and yesterday was used as a wide receiver and took a direct snap on a wildcat play. He had three carries for 14 yards in addition to returning three punts for 44 yards and a kickoff for 17 yards

Understand, none of these guys are going to make All-Pro.  But over the course of the season, players like this can make a difference. But this is small potatoes, frankly. Signing all four probably costs about $2 million bucks.  If you figure an NFL starter is worth 3 million dollars, the Browns could have signed about 8 or 9 starters in 2013, but instead elected to trim salaries as much as possible. 

    Perhaps it is a good strategy for 2014, but for 2013 it is tantamount to giving up on the season.  To see it otherwise is just naive.  Meantime Browns management is said to be salivating over rookie quarterbacks in the 2014 draft.  Will it be Bridgewater?  Or Manziel?   It's hard to know.  But the Browns typically act as though there are no other problems except at the quarterback position.

     Well, Browns fans, there you go.  It looks like the Browns are simply trying to position themselves for the 2014 draft.  They have no running game and refuse to sign any players that might help for 2013.  Might as well shut off the TV until next year.  

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