Here are some random thoughts about what the future holds as the Browns embark upon the offseason:
Butch Davis and top aide Pete Garcia will listen to opinions of others, but most decisions involving the draft will be made by the two. There's something to be said when you see Garcia cozying up to Davis after practice while Dwight Clark is off in the distance.
There will be a serious push to trade up and get Miami offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, especially if McKinnie somehow drops a bit. If Houston takes quarterback Joey Harrington, it would be hard for Carolina to pass on Julius Peppers. Detroit, which picks third, has more-pressing needs than offensive tackle and might be willing to trade down.
After McKinnie, the Miami player Davis would most like to bring in is strong safety Edward Reed. There's no doubt that Davis thinks Earl Little is a role player. Davis desperately wants to secure a strong safety like Reed, who is a playmaker.
I'll be surprised if defensive tackle Orpheus Roye isn't left unprotected for the expasion draft. Roye is making too much money for a finesse player. Davis loves physical tackles, and Roye doesn't fit that mold.
There will be a new starter at middle linebacker. An intriguing player that might be available in free agency is Pittsburgh's Earl Holmes. The Steelers have a history of losing at least one prominent player each year. If they don't re-sign Holmes or make him a transition player, he'd be an inviting target.
Shaun O'Hara might be the starting center next season. Dave Wohlabaugh is viewed as a decent player, but he's probably not worth the money he's scheduled to earn. O'Hara will come cheaper, and he played well at left guard down the stretch.
Offensive tackle Roman Oben will end up with Houston. It seems a certainty that he won't be back. With Chris Palmer now with the Texans, he might be inclined to persuade Dom Capers to give a good guy like Oben another opportunity.
Cornerback Daylon McCutcheon, who is a restricted free agent, will be re-signed. The Browns can't afford to concentrate on the cornerback positions in the draft or free agency, and it's not certain how well the brittle Lewis Sanders will return from surgery. McCutcheon is too valuable to let get away.
Look for the Browns to make a run at Arizona offensive tackle Anthony Clement, assuming he hits the open market. There's been conjecture that Indianapolis tackle Tarik Glenn will be pursued, but will the Colts let the player that protects Peyton Manning's back side slip away?
Defensive tackle Marcus Spriggs, a restricted free agent, will be back. Spriggs was one of the few players Davis spoke well of when asked his impression of the team shortly after being hired. Spriggs is a large presence that would fit in nicely next to Gerard Warren.
Offensive guard Tre Johnson should think about his life's work. Johnson seems determined to return after missing most of the season with a quad injury. The fact is that Johnson's body has been torn apart. There's no need to waste the offseason thinking Johnson will be there next season when Davis knows all too well that it won't happen.