The 2016 offseason ends Thursday with the start of Training Camp so it gives us a perfect chance to look back at the crazy offseason and look at what move was the worst.
The number of moves are pretty amazing when you take a second to look back at them. It started with the firing of Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine, continued with the promotion of Sashi Brown, the hiring of Hue Jackson and Andrew Berry (the analytics team) and ended with a very different roster than the one that started the 2015 season.
Gone from the first 53 man roster on 9/5/15: Johnny Manziel, Terrence West, Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, Travis Benjamin, Jim Dray, Rob Housler, Alex Mack, Mitchell Schwartz, Randy Starks, Billy Winn, Karlos Dansby, Craig Robertson, Scott Solomon, Donte Whitner, Tashaun Gipson and Johnson Bademosi. That is 17 guys from the 53 man roster. It is likely more of the remaining 36 are cut by the time the Browns get to Week 1.
The Browns didn't make huge additions in free agency but brought in ILB Demario Davis, S Rahim Moore and QB Robert Griffin III to compete for roster spots as well as picking up some young players like Jackson Jeffcoat off waivers.
Two big trades, one before the NFL Draft and one during, were the highlight of a huge Draft weekend for the Browns. The team added a number of future picks to move down from the #2 pick all the way down to #15. They passed up a chance at Carson Wentz at #2 and a variety of other players early in the Draft to solidify their future options.
In the Draft, the Browns added 14 picks: WR Corey Coleman, OLB Emmanuel Ogbah, DE Carl Nassib, OT Shon Coleman, QB Cody Kessler, LB Joe Schobert, WR Ricardo Louis, S Derrick Kindred, TE Seth DeValve, WR Jordan Payton, OT Spencer Drango, WR Rashard Higgins, CB Trey Caldwell and LB Scooby Wright.
They also just recently got the news that Josh Gordon would be returning to the team, after another 4 game suspension, and seem to be planning to support the one-time great wide receiver.
So as we look back at all the moves there are quite a few to pick from to be considered the "worst" of the offseason.
Some may point to the lack of a true "Football Guy" in the Front Office.
Other will point to passing on the chance to draft Wentz, the always desired "QB of the Future," in order to once again stock up on lottery tickets in the NFL Draft.
Still, others will point to passing on talent in the Draft, either by trading down or not taking risks. Moving down 13 slots seems to point to the loss of "elite" talent being brought in, something the Browns have lacked. Others were hoping the Browns would take a shot on Myles Jack or Jaylon Smith, despite their injury concerns. (Full disclosure: I wanted Jack at the top of the 2nd Round and was willing to take a chance on Smith mid to late 3rd, not where he was selected.)
The combination of talent let go in free agency and the lack of talent signed has many fans upset. The Browns continue to sit on a ton of salary cap space but have done nothing with it. Benjamin showed to be a great deep threat, Gipson was a self-made player coming on as an undrafted guy, Mack was the center of a great offensive line and Schwartz had manned the right side for years.
A lot of fans are expecting RG3 to be a big flop. From his injury issues, mechanical problems and attitude related concerns from Washington, saddling up to RG3 instead of investing in a young guy could end up being the worst decision the Browns made this offseason. Thankfully, they didn't invest in him for the long run. If this doesn't work out, the Browns will move on with Kessler and, likely, a high draft pick next year.
So what is the worst offseason move the Browns made? Looking forward to your thoughts in the Forum but I can't lead you on without giving my answer:
Letting Mitchell Schwartz leave in free agency was the Browns worst move.
With the possible return of Gordon, the influx of talent at the WR position and the upside of RG3, the offense looks to be as talented as we have ever seen, with room to grow. The loss of Mack is understandable given his age, and the hope of Cameron Erving, but Schwartz will be tough to replace.
Rookies Coleman and Drango are joined by Alvin Bailey in competing for the starting right tackle spot. Bailey currently has the edge as Coleman is recovering from injuries and Drango has a lot of work to do to be capable of starting in the NFL.
What good does it do to have RG3 taking snaps and talented pass catchers, including Gary Barnidge and Duke Johnson, running routes, when defenders are coming hard in the face of the QB? We saw players like Von Miller, J.J. Watt and others who rush from the offense's right side create havoc against some of the best in the game.
The analytics Front Office could be in over their head. Hue Jackson could be more hype than hope. RG3 could fall apart. Gordon could go up in smoke. The rookies could underperform. Mack, Gipson or Benjamin could be missed the most.
However, I expect that the loss of Mitchell Schwartz is the one move Browns fans look back on at the end of the season and regret the most.
What move do you think will be the Browns' worse from this offseason?