The Cleveland Browns made a ton of moves in the offseason, moves that greatly helped the depth of the team. However that depth of talent was not obvious yesterday against the New York Jets. So we take a look back at the offseason and some moves that were made, and others that were not, that had a big impact on the game yesterday.
To be clear, none of this is looking long term at all, only at things that impacted yesterday's game.
As we covered yesterday, Bowe was Inactive for the game. The Browns sunk $9 million into Bowe with hopes that he would bolster a group of receivers that have talent but are small with limited experience. Hartline was signed at a much smaller cost and, thankfully, had a more positive impact on yesterday's game.
Obviously not having Bowe on the field was a big deal and while Hartline produced he isn't a playmaker type. Signing both of these receivers also created an opportunity cost for the team. With roster spots and money allocated, the Browns did not draft a receiver high nor were they reportedly involved with any of the high priced WRs like Jeremy Maclin or Randall Cobb.
Interest in and then signing Bowe and Hartline may have impacted them on the trade market as well. Yesterday they were burned by Brandon Marshall, a player the Jets acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bears, fora 5th round pick. To be fair, that trade happened very quickly at the opening of the league year, before the Browns made their signings.
Trent Cole Pick the Colts
The Browns were hot and heavy after the Ohio native in Free Agency. At one point it seemed like the Browns may have had him locked in. Instead Cole decided to join on with the Colts, who were adding veteran, name talent to a very good roster. The Browns seemed to do everything they could to lure Cole in but the chance to go deep into the playoffs, and maybe a Super Bowl, were too much to overcome.
Cole didn't have a big game in Week 1, only 1 tackle, but would have been very helpful on the opposite side of Paul Kruger for a Browns pass rush that struggled. The Browns didn't sign another OLB in free agency, hoping that Barkevious Mingo and Scott Solomon would be enough. They also drafted an OLB high in the draft, which leads us to our final point.
While Orchard was Inactive, Gregory started for the Dallas Cowboys, with Greg Hardy sitting out with his suspension. Gregory was credited with a couple pressures and one QB hit Sunday, before going out with a high ankle sprain. While he didn't record a tackle or a sack, getting pressure on the QB is huge, something Orchard could not to as an inactive.
Obviously the Browns hope that Orchard can be helpful down the road but for Week 1, the decision to draft Orchard over Gregory doesn't look good. Others will point to the team passing on wide receivers at this point, which they did all the way till the 4th round on Vince Mayle who is now on the Cowboys practice squad.
You only get to pick three, and hopefully they are realistic: What 3 offseason moves do you think impacted yesterday's loss?