More on the Couch-to-Dallas Trade Rumors

<B>EXCLUSIVE:</B> Stories about a possible trade between the Browns and Cowboys stirred first on Dallas radio and have exploded onto the Internet over the last day. Lane Adkins, who has been pursuing this story since before it hit the airwaves, offers some critical new information <I>available only on TheInsiders!</I>

With the days dwindling down towards the 2003 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns have again become a team in the news. Stirred by a quarterback controversy, Tim Couch, the first player selected in the 1999 draft, has been rumored to be packing his bags and heading out of Cleveland.

Recent discussions revealed to The Insiders state that the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys have discussed trade possibilities, leading to rampant rumors of a trade being booked for this upcoming Saturday during the NFL draft.

First off, don't get too excited about the hype, or the rumors.

On the other hand, maybe the buzz can continue.

A source close to the Browns have told The Insiders that the team does not have a desire to obtain the fifth-selection in the 2003 NFL draft, but would like to accumulate additional draft selections if the opportunity were to present itself. Trading Couch or versatile running back Jamel White would provide the team this avenue to accumulate additional draft picks in the upcoming draft.

Trading either player is an option. A league source tells The Insiders that the Browns appear willing to trade Couch for a high second-round draft pick in the upcoming draft. There is also a market for White, but the Browns are seriously attempting to sign him to a long-term contract. If a deal between White and the Browns does not happen prior to the draft, then a deal could be in the making.

Back to the Browns trading up on draft day.

The reason behind the Browns avoidance of the #5 pick is tied to the salary cap. The Browns have conducted a salary cap purge this off-season to position themselves for immediate and future financial stability. Hampered by the costly selections of Couch, Courtney Brown, and Gerard Warren, the Browns don't want to see 20-plus percent of their future salary cap room locked up on a handful of players.

This past off-season, the Browns were forced to released players from the roster because of salary cap issues. Due to poor success in the draft, the Browns were forced to sign players in free agency to fill holes on the roster. Additionally, the players the team signed in free agency didn't have the impact the team hoped for.

This team does not desire to rip the roster apart further in coming years due to continued salary overindulgence.

Trading up to the fifth position in the draft would come create more of the same for the Browns. The recent roster purge has placed the team approximately one-million dollars under the league-imposed $75 million dollar salary cap. The Browns do not have sufficient funds under the salary cap limit to sign their rookie selections if they kept all their existing draft picks, much less one of the top five picks.

A deal may transpire between the Browns and Cowboys - it may even include quarterback Tim Couch and/or Jamel White - but there is one thing you can bank on: the fifth selection in the 2003 NFL draft will not be made by the Cleveland Browns.


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