Signing Robert Griffin III yesterday doesn't change the direction his new team will take in free agency. It does, however, give a direction for the team to go in. Griffin's unique skill set may be long in the past but, whether he is starting or a rookie wins the QB competition, the Browns have a few areas they can address.
Free Agency has been a deflating process for Cleveland Browns fans who were hopeful that the team would try to compete. Instead, the Browns have lost their best free agents, signed some third level guys and are certainly in a full rebuild.
That doesn't mean the team shouldn't continue to look to add good, young talent to supplement their roster. There are some talented young players left on the market that could fit for the Browns as they look to move forward with their new leadership.
Signing RG3 is likely to raise fans' hopes but the Browns are still looking for young players on the upside of their careers. That doesn't discount having a veteran or two come in to provide leadership and to teach the younger players what it means to be a pro.
A look at three moves the Browns should now make:
Which of these two players the Browns should pursue, totally depends on how the team sees last year's 1st Round Pick Cameron Erving. If they pencil him in as their center, Silatolu makes a little more sense. If they see him as either a guard or right tackle, which some (not a lot) think could be a fit for him, then Wisniewski would be the pick.
With the Panthers last year, Silatolu tore his ACL in November. The 27-year-old has taken visits to a number of teams but has yet to sign. Pro Football Focus has him as the 5th best guard in free agency. The 6'4" guard out of little Midwestern State University can play either guard spot, which could come in handy if Joel Bitonio is moved out to right tackle.
Wisniewski has been linked the Browns if Alex Mack left. Even though Mack signed with the Atlanta Falcons, there has been no report of the center visiting. Hue Jackson's Oakland Raiders drafted him in Jackson's only year there, so the fit makes sense. At 3 years younger than Mack, Wisniewski graded just 3 points behind Mack according to PFF. Also 27, he can be a part of the team long term.
Either Silatolu or Wisniewski could be an important part of the Browns' short and long term.
With Griffin's injury history, keeping him upright and healthy is important. Protecting a rookie, likely to be drafted, if RG3 gets hurt, is also very important.
Sign DL Da'Quan Bowers
Bowers was expected to be a great pass rusher as a 4-3 defensive end in the middle of his college career. At one point he was expected to be drafted #1 overall. Instead, he was drafted in the 2nd round after a very slow 40 time, and hasn't made a huge impact in the league.
He transitioned mostly inside as a DT in Tampa Bay's 4-3.
Bowers is still only 26 and could help the Browns on the defensive line. While not an amazing player so far, Bowers would be a low price signing with some upside in a defensive front he hasn't played in before. As a 3 or 5 technique, Bowers can give the Browns some depth and could surprise in that role.
Bowers was rated at 66.9 by PFF which is middle of the pack of interior defensive linemen.
Sign Veteran WR James Jones
While the Browns are in a restart mode, some kind of veteran leader would be helpful. James Jones had a good season in his return to Green Bay last year. While nothing more than an okay #2 receiver, Jones could be huge on and off the field. Josh Gordon, Terrelle Pryor and whoever the Browns might draft at the position (Hearing OSU's Michael Thomas is being targeted) would benefit from him.
Jones struggled away from the Packers but the allure of Hue Jackson, and RG3, could be enough to draw him to Cleveland. Unlike Dwayne Bowe, Jones attitude and effort isn't a big concern.
Wearing a hoodie under his jersey might be a concern.
The Browns should be willing to overpay Jones slightly for a year to provide quality leadership, a reliable route runner for the offense and a security blanket around young, impressionable receivers.
Adding RG3 is an important start but the Browns can't be done. While they won't be competing this season, bringing in an offensive lineman, Bowers and Jones could be big for this season and years to come.
While many reading this will be underwhelmed by the names mentioned, at this point these are the best moves the Browns can make.
Bowers helps make up for the lack of depth and talent on the defensive line while Jones helps in a variety of ways on the field and in the wide receiver room.
What realistic moves do you want to see from the Browns?