It's no secret that many changes will take place in the offseason. No one needs to tell that to offensive tackle Roman Oben, whose days with the Browns could be near an end.
Oben, who signed a four-year contract before the 2000 season, wants to be back, but the fact he was demoted to second string late in the season doesn't speak well for his future with the team.
"It's too hard to say (what will happen). Catch me a month from now," Oben said.
The offensive line will undoubtedly have a new look next season. Coach Butch Davis shook up the line prior to a game against Tennessee Dec. 2, and more moves are in the offing.
"I thought I played well enough to help us win, especially the last game I started," Oben said. "They (the coaches) will make their evaluations. They're going to see where everyone fits into this program. If they don't think you fit, you check out other options. If they do, then you come back."
TOUGH YEAR: Receiver Dennis Northcutt didn't play one down in the last two games, falling behind Kevin Johnson, JaJuan Dawson, Andre King and Quincy Morgan on the depth chart.
As Nortchutt packed his belongings to begin the offseason, he had no idea if he would see the locker room again. He had a poor sophomore season. He caught just 18 passes for 211 yards and showed no improvement as the punt returner.
"There are always concerns whether you would be here," Northcutt said. "The only thing I can do is take care of me so that here or wherever else I'm at, I can be prepared to help."
COMING BACK?: Offensive lineman Tre Johnson talked like a man who wants to return next year, but that might be a reach. The often-injured Johnson went down early in the season with a torn quadricep.
"I've had much more severe injuries, and I've always come back. I'll come back again," Johnson said. "I can't make people believe anything they don't want to believe."
Davis suggested recently that Johnson might want to think about retirement. He's had just two injury-free seasons since being drafted by Washington in the second round of the 1995 draft.
WHAT'S NEXT?: Offensive lineman Shaun O'Hara finished strong. O'Hara moved in at left guard when Ross Verba was moved from the position to left tackle.
O'Hara has developed into a versatile player, having the ability to play center. He would like to settle into one position, but he realizes that versatility might be his biggest asset.
"It would be nice to settle on one spot and focus on that and know where you're at," O'Hara said. "I see myself as a guy that will be able to play a couple of positions. I want to leave every door open that's possible.
GETTING IT DONE: If re-structuring his contract is the way to secure his future with the Browns, cornerback Corey Fuller has no problem. Fuller has two years remaining on a five-year contract.
There's been talk that the Browns would like to give him another contract that would lower his salary-cap figure.
"I want to finish my career as a Cleveland Brown," Fuller said.