Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ray Farmer's Weirdest Move This Off Season

I like Ray Farmer, but did not understand why he gave John Hughes an early contract extension.   Why not wait until 2016?  

   I'm a fan of the Browns' GM Ray Farmer who impresses me as a guy always seems to be ahead of his competitors in terms of building a team the right way and manipulating the salary cap in his favor.  However, one move that I did not not understand was the awarding of a contract extension to John Hughes.   

Browns Defensive End John Hughes warmly greets the Cowboy's Tony Romo.  

Hughes played well for the Browns last year, and is a very good player, and I'm happy for him.   But why did the Browns extend his contract a year before it was due?   This is especially odd because Hughes was injured last year and didn't play much, only appearing in five games with three starts. 

The Browns defensive line put in a spectacularly bad performance, getting five sacks from Desmond Bryant and only two sacks from the rest of the team.  

So what is the plan for Hughes?  They are paying him like a starter, but suddenly there is a logjam of talent there:   Desmond Bryant and Xavier Cooper at LDE,  Danny Shelton, Phil Taylor and Ismaily Kitchen at NT, and Randy Starks and  Billy Winn at RDE. Armonty Bryant also appeared to be playing at a high level early in 2015 only to go down with an injury.  The Browns now want him to shift to Right Outside Linebacker, though I'm not sure his his lineman speed translates to linebacker very well.   

Regardless, it looks like Bryant, Shelton and Starks are likely to be first string, so it is odd that the Browns would give a big contract ($14.4 Million over 4 years, with $3.56 Million guaranteed) to a guy who doesn't seem destined for a starting role, and who was already under contract through 2015.   The only reason to do this is if Farmer believes the guy is headed for a breakout year in 2015, and if he is going to continue to be a star player in 2016 and beyond.  That will be very interesting.   

Overall, it bodes well for the Browns that they have a crowd of talent at the position, with Hughes coming back from his injury, and adding Danny Shelton (1st round pick), Xavier Cooper (3rd round)   and former Pro Bowler Randy Starks as a free agent.  

Non-performing Ahtyba Rubin is gone, and Phil Taylor may be on his way out after struggling with injuries last year and generally not performing well since his outstanding rookie campaign in 2011.