Couch Situation Unresolved as Free Agency Begins

As Butch Davis and Tim Couch appeared at the IX Center last night (pictured), there were smiles and talk of air-clearing discussions between coach and quarterback. With today's visit by Drew Henson, and no discussions with Couch about money, the situation remains murky. Meanwhile, the free agent season starts with the cupboard already looking increasingly bare...

The Browns situation at quarterback remains murky as the NFL lunges into the free agent signing period today.

At an appearance at the IX center, which serves as the primary focus of stories on the newswire, Couch and Davis offered that any issues between the two had been cleared. The repeated mantra: it's all about money now.

Couch claimed that money talk hadn't begun, and that he was somewhat confused as he had hoped that the situation would have been settled by yesterday.

At the same time, the Browns admitted yesterday that Texans quarterback Drew Henson was going to be in town today for interviews and a workout. Henson and Couch share the same agent in Tom Condon, which only serves to surround the situation in another layer of fog.

Also of note is yesterday's release of 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, who refused to accept a salary cut from the San Francisco franchise. Garcia's name has already started to pop up in conversations about the Browns quarterback position, but there has been no confirmation from the team itself of any interest.

It isn't clear at this point why the Browns have not discussed money with Couch or his agent. It is likely that the team will be somewhat limited in what they can do during the free agency period until the situation is settled. If appealing free agents start signing while the situation is in flux, the team can expect criticism to begin to flare up from the media and fans.

READY, STEADY, GO!  The free agency period got itself ready to go with a flurry of transactions yesterday, which we've attempted to capture via our Free Agency Database.

Along with the aforementioned Garcia, Tuesday also saw the dumping of players such as DE Tony Brackens, OG Ron Stone, DT Gilbert Brown, C Cory Raymer, DE Marcellus Wiley, TE Ken Dilger and old friend LB Dwayne Rudd.

A number of contract were also signed yesterday, including the gigantic and well-publicized delivery of riches to fellow Condon client Peyton Manning, plus contracts signed by potential Browns targets OG Adam Timmerman and TE Jim Kleinsasser. Along with the number of high tenders given to restricted free agents yesterday, the Browns are finding the cupboards increasingly bare.

The Browns head into the free agency period with some unsettled contracts. In addition to Tim Couch's situation, little information has been forthcoming about either Gerard Warren or Courtney Brown's restructuring.

The team is also faced with teams protecting themselves well at the highly-desired offensive line positions. The top four offensive tackles are already off the market, leaving second-tier starters, and yesterday's signing of Adam Timmerman by the Rams removed the top available offensive guard.

Damien Woody of the Patriots is likely the most desirable free agent on the offensive line at this point. His name has already appeared in speculation about the Browns interests, but nothing has been confirmed about any contact as of yet.

Stay tuned - we will update throughout the day as needed....

- AB

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