According to a report by Jeff Schudel in this morning's Lake County News-Herald, the Browns are close to a deal with the Denver Broncos for defensive tackle Gerard Warren. The deal is reportedly for a fourth-round pick in this year's draft.
The Broncos had been rumored to be one of the teams - along with the Colts and several others - to have an interest in the mercurial Warren. Now with the Broncos, recently departed defensive line coach Andre Patterson could scarcely contain his glee earlier this week at the notion of bringing in Warren, who finished 2004 relatively strong. Warren had a blistering finish to the 2001 season as well, and Patterson believes that Warren can be very effective outside of the controlled defensive scheme employed last year by defensive coordinator Dave Campo.
The move, along with yesterday's release of Robert Griffith, shows the Browns continue to purge themselves of high-priced defenders. Warren was due to receive a $1.3 million roster bonus on Wednesday, and Griffith was due to receive a $1.2 million roster bonus.
The moves are not without some risk and cost. Griffith was the Browns leading tackler in 2004, and Warren has shown flashes of potential which, if displayed more consistently, would make him a top defensive tackle.
Then again, the same comments were prevalent regarding Warren prior to his drafting in 2001. Savage and Crennel, apparently, feel it isn't worth $1.3 million to see if this is the year that "Big Money" lives up to his nickname.
The new coach brings a number of years of NFL experience to the Browns, having served three years with the St. Louis Rams and two more years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. During his second season in St. Louis, Haluchak was part of the coaching staff which took the Rams to the Super Bowl. Haluchak has also spent time with the Bengals, Giants, and Redskins.
Haluchak will play a particularly important role in the team's restructuring of their defense. New head coach Romeo Crennel favors a 3-4 defensive scheme, which the Browns are currently ill-equipped to play. GM Phil Savage recently noted that only Chaun Thompson, among outside linebackers, has the potential to be the sort of OLB needed by the system.
It will be up to Haluchak to help the team's existing linebackers make the transition, and to bring new linebackers into the system. He may need more than the 2-3 years he has spent at most NFL stops to complete the process.
With the combine wrapping up today, expect some changes in the dozens of mock drafts scattered around the Internet.
Bernie's Insiders provides a unique way of gauging what draftniks are predicting with our one-of-a-kind Mock Draft Muncher, released to forum visitors over the weekend. The Mock Draft Muncher links, averages, analyzes, parses, and dissects dozens of mock drafts, and will likely contain the results of nearly one hundred of them by draft day.
In addition to a complete behind-the-scenes re-write of the system, new this year is the addition of historical information to the Muncher, which allows the system to draw dynamic charts indicating whether a player in improving or worsening his draft position as the crucial date nears. In addition, we provide charts (see example to the right) and tables of who the mock drafts are saying the Browns will pick in slot number 3.
Currently, nearly 50 mock drafts have been captured by the Muncher, and all are linked to their original locations on the internet for your surfing pleasure.
All of the Mock Draft Muncher is entirely free for all Bernie's Insiders visitors, and we hope you enjoy the new capabilities of the 2005 version.
Keep an eye on the forums for the release of an all-new Rumor Central system, just in time for the beginning of the free agent craziness on Wednesday. The new Rumor Central will provide Browns fans with a way to keep track of the weirdness, lies, deception, insane ranting, overt shill-ery, and obfuscation that is all part of the fun of free agency.
Rumor Central will be joining the newswire, tipline, Hot News, and The.Raw.Feed - not to mention The Watercooler's tendency to link new stories within seconds of them being posted - as ways that Browns fans can get news about the team within minutes of it breaking anywhere on the web. If Bernie's Insiders own reporters don't break the story, you'll be able to find it here within minutes of it happening. At least, that's the idea.