General manager Tom Heckert said the Browns "won't go crazy" in free agency this summer and so far he has been true to his word -- so true it is fair to wonder how much better the Browns will be in 2011 in the brutally competitive AFC North.
The Browns signed running back Brandon Jackson, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, and defensive back Usama Young, formerly of the Saints. That was it as far as free agent signings from other teams go one week into the court-and-sign period.
The Browns made two other moves Saturday when they traded a 2012 fifth-round pick to the Eagles for defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley and traded a conditional seventh-round pick to the Rams for guard John Greco. When they made the Bunkley trade, top draft pick Phil Taylor was still unsigned. Taylor, picked 21st overall, was the only draft choice absent when training camp started.
The Browns won one free agent negotiation and lost one when it came to their own unsigned players the first week. They re-signed defensive end Jayme Mitchell to a two-year contract, but they lost cornerback Eric Wright to the Lions.
Re-signing Mitchell, who never got to play last year when Eric Mangini was head coach, is a huge plus for the Browns. Mitchell had five sacks in three seasons and two games in 2010 with the Vikings.
Retaining Mitchell, 6-foot-6, 285 pounds, was a priority for General Manager Tom Heckert. Mitchell will play left end. Sheard, 6-4, 264 pounds, is expected to start at right end in the 4-3 defense.
Losing Wright to the Lions caught them off guard. According to reports, the Browns offered more money and a longer deal, but Wright chose to sign with the Lions for one year. He is hopeful he can return to his 2009 form after a miserable 2010 season so he can cash in on free agency next year.
Losing Wright isn't devastating to the Browns, but it does mean they have to find a cornerback among the free agents still looking for work. As it is, Sheldon Brown and Joe Haden would be the starting cornerbacks but defensive coordinator Dick Jauron needs a third to play in nickel situations. The Browns drafted Skine in the fifth round, but he is considered a special teams player.
Wright was second-round draft choice in 2007. He played well his first three seasons while starting 47 of 48 games. His problems began last year when he gave up three touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin in a game against the Ravens in September. He eventually lost his starting job to Haden.
Wright is apparently happy in his new home. He wears a Lions cap in his Twitter account picture the day he signed with the Lions and tweeted: "It's all love now. Let's get it."
The Browns are closely watching the cornerbacks they have in training camp hoping one jumps out and is worthy of playing the nickel. They have not ruled out signing another corner.
In a move that did not come as a shock the Browns released quarterback Jake Delhomme. Delhomme was scheduled to make $5.4 million in 2011. Delhomme was injured in the opener and ended up playing in five games. He threw two touchdown passes and seven interceptions.
CAMP CALENDAR: The Browns have scheduled an intrasquad scrimmage in full pads at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Aug. 6. Camp closes Aug. 23.