News and rumors continue to swirl around the Browns as signs of movement are seen from Berea on the fourth day of the free agent period.
COUCH WATCH: In addition to exclusive news we reported last night on the quarterback situation, the Plain Dealer and WKYC-3 reported this morning that the Browns have sent another contract offer to Tim Couch. The Browns quarterback and his agent, Tom Condon, never formally replied to the initial proposal, but feelings were communicated effectively via indirect channels. The Browns upped their offer somewhat and sent Couch another proposal.
This has been following the script that Lane Adkins has outlined for weeks in Ask the Insiders and elsewhere: An initial proposal of $6-$7 million, with the team being willing to offer a little more when needed. The proposal is now in the $8 million area.
Rumors of Couch being dealt to the Cowboys have appeared yet again, this time via ESPN's John Clayton. In an appearance on ESPN Radio, Clayton offered that Couch would likely turn down the Browns proposal and then be dealt to the Cowboys. Last year, Bernie's Insiders reported on talks between the two teams for Couch.
Yesterday, yours truly stirred up some folks with my reference to the Browns contract offer to Couch as being a "Low Ball" offer. Just to clarify, that was my opinion, which often creeps into these little spiels, and not anything which was uttered by the Couch camp. As Pat McManamon points out in today's ABJ, whether or not the contract is actually a low-ball offer is in the eye of the beholder.
In the eyes of this observer, that is exactly what the offer was. But, that's opinion, not news, and newcomers to the site might not realize that my morning babblings are generally a mix of news, my idiotic takes, and somewhat pathetic pleas for free beer.
Pat agrees with the impression we communicated via Hot News Thursday morning that the Browns interest in the Lions' QB Mike McMahon is more of a fall-back option than a top priority.
As far as Jeff Garcia is concerned, he and his agent didn't speak with any of the local papers about yesterday's meetings with the Browns. Many writers have speculated that Garcia is being used as "leverage" in the negotiations with Tim Couch. That interpretation appeared in last night's wire story from the Associated Press, for example.
What's not speculation are two things the team has told reporters. First, Carmen Policy has stated that Tim Couch would not be re-signed to a contract just so that the team can deal him. The team has also denied that the contract offer to Couch was a public relations move to make it appear that Couch rejected them.
ALSO OF NOTE: The local media is speculating that the Browns and Ron Stone may be close. Stone's agent is talking to the press, and many remember that the Browns had an interest in Stone a couple of years ago... Reports coming from Charlotte newspapers indicate that Panther free safety Deon Grant will be visiting Berea.... Gerard Warren restructured his contract, saving the Browns a cool $1 million in cap space... Terrell Owens is furious at the Niners for dealing him to the Baltimore Ratbirds rather than the Philadelphia Eagles. The situation is nothing short of hilarious on a number of levels, but we're still stuck with the prospect of Owens playing in Baltimore... Look for updates this morning to the free agency database and Browns player tracker.