The latest scuttle from inside Berea to have reached these ears...
- In their never-ending pursuit for a QB, the Browns have heavily scouted every QB available from the collegiate ranks over the past two seasons. An extraordinary amount of time has been spent within the past 12 months on the position.
Prior to the changes within the Browns front office, player personnel department and coaching staff, Carson Wentz was the QB of greatest intrigue. Members of the Browns organization believed support Wentz as a very viable option for the Browns just as strongly today.
The resounding sentiment coming from those that has scouted and provided reports on the QBs state Jared Goff of California is the most ready today of the available QBs, which is no surprise. The team views Wentz as having potentially greater upside physically, a better fit for the division, while drawing comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton in make-up and physical ability.
Heading into the combine and private workout season, the Browns will conduct sessions with many of the notable QBs in the draft-class, with Goff, Wentz, Paxton Lynch (Memphis) and Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) gaining further evaluation.
As of this writing, the Browns have yet to officially rank the QBs and will do so following the interview process.
- The Browns have begun discussions regarding players which they may seek to release due to contract, productivity and/or fit. At the present time, QB Johnny Manziel and SS Donte Whitner have garnered the attention of the newly structured front office. Others in preliminary discussion have been WR Dwayne Bowe as well as OLBs Paul Kruger, Barkevious Mingo and DE Desmond Bryant.
Presently, the Browns have only internally committed to releasing Manziel, the others are topics of discussion following the scouting combine and prior to the new league year.
Manziel continues to be under investigation by the Dallas Police Department for his role in a an alleged physical abuse case involving his ex-girlfriend. The Browns had been investigating their options in dealing with the oft-troubled player, ranging from releasing the player to voiding his contract due to their potential perception of the contracted player being in violation of the league personal conduct policy. The league office awaits the outcome of the Dallas Police Department investigation before proceeding forward with their investigation and potential penalty.
- Another player naturally of great interest to the Browns is suspended WR Josh Gordon. Gordon has applied for reinstatement for his indefinite suspension for violating the league substance policy and is believed to be cooperating fully to gain reinstatement.
Members of the Browns organization have talked to the Gordon camp in a non-official capacity and are intrigued to discuss Gordon's growth and state-of-being if and when the standout WR gains approval from the league to join the team.
Head coach Hue Jackson intends on meeting with Gordon if/when he is reinstated to gauge whether the player has learned from his suspension experience and whether he is committed to re-engaging his career and becoming a stand-up member of the Cleveland Browns.
- The hope of getting WR Travis Benjamin to agree to a contract prior to free agency is slowing diminishing. The organization and player representative were of the belief a deal was within reach, with each party displaying the desire to 'give and take' to come to an agreement.
Within the past week, neither the Browns nor the representative for the player have been able to agree to minimize what theOBR has been told as a 'slight difference' in contract dollars over the duration of the deal.
- The situation surrounding potential free agent Tashaun Gipson is relatively simple -- the Browns do not have a desire to enter into a significant negotiation with the free safety on a contract which rivals the five-year, 47.5 million dollar (22 million guaranteed) deal Devin McCourty (New England) inked one-year ago.
- Soon-to-be-free agent right tackle Mitchell Schwartz is very open to remaining in Cleveland, but he is not going to short-change himself, and wants to experience free agency with the option of choosing where he wants to play. Agreeing to a deal prior to the free agent player signing period isn't viewed a viable option to the player at the present time.
The Browns have "touched base" with the representative for the player, who played at a high level in the 2015 season and is arguably the best right tackle available.
While the Browns will have the ability to negotiate with the player, every indication is the salary Schwartz could command could rival $10 million a season on average over the duration of the contract.
- Make no mistake, center Alex Mack is going to opt-out of his contract, becoming a free agent once the league year commences. Coming off an injury which derailed his 2014 season, Mack played increasingly well, especially over the second-half of the 2015 season.
With Mack, the player wants the ability to choose his path, the contract will be there, whether with Cleveland or another team, Alex Mack simply wants the right to go where he wants, he wants to have a voice and control of his situation.
The Browns will continue to pursue Mack, with the player being more receptive of remaining with the Browns following the off-season change in direction of the organization and coaching (Hue Jackson hire).