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It's 7:30 AM and a early trip around the local papers shows no new Browns stories, so my advice is to wait for DK's Wire update later this morning and watch the tipline. All the Browns-related journalistic activity seems centered on CNN/SI and Don Banks this morning.
HOT FOR TROTTER?: CNN/SI's Don Banks provides the scoop this morning as the Browns, who apparently paid close attention to David Carducci's Insiders WebExtra report, are said to have backed off an offer for Earl Holmes. The Bernie's Insiders forums noticed Carducci's article, as there was a sharp turn in tone about Holmes after DC busted loose with that one. Banks reports that most of the Browns organization has the hots for Jeremiah Trotter, who the Eagles refuse to overpay and are therefore putting on the market. (Another WebExtra report worth checking out: Mike McLain's report on Trotter and available linebackers from 1/29).
The interesting inference from Banks' article could be formed around Davis' relationship with the rest of the organization. In the case of Trotter, as was reportedly the case with Ricky Williams, Davis holds the "final vote" about whether or not to make the move. The Saints reportedly grew frustrated with the Browns because Dwight Clark was working with them, but was going back to Davis and getting the deals nixed. Negotiators who aren't empowered can burn up a lot of time and can be frustrating for the other party to work with. Could the complex relationships between members of the Browns front office be impacting the teams' ability to make moves? Food for thought.
Banks also makes the case that the Browns might have an interest in ex-Vikes LB Ed McDaniel. McDaniel is available, experienced, and has that all-important connection to Foge Fazio. Go to the bottom of the article on CNN/SI.
A CARRION-MUNCHING BIRD FLIES OFF RADAR: The Arizona Republic is reporting this morning that the Cardinals are busy negotiating with Duane Starks. The Browns supposedly had an interest in the Ravens corner, but that interest is not continuing according to the Republic. They have Starks talking seriously with Arizona, Oakland, and Baltimore. Ravens fans in the Bernie's Insiders Rantatorium are going to have to do some serious backpedalling if Starks winds up back with the Baltimore Ravens. (NOTE TO NEWBIES: The Rant has mature language and smak talk of a frightening nature).
A couple of interesting developments around the possibility of Warrick Holdman becoming a Brown. First, the Browns primary competition for the restricted free agent took themselves out of play as the Houston Texans signed LB Greg Jones to a long-term deal. The Bears have the right to match any offer that Holdman gets but are not due draft choice compensation due to a clerical error. The Bears seem to be hedging their bets as the Chicago Tribune reports that the team is close to signing Eagles LB Mike Caldwell. According to the Tribune, the team doesn't think that it can retain its linebacking corps of Holdman, Urlacher, and Colvin long-term.
A CLEAR PATH TO WARRICK HOLDMAN?
REPEAT: The Bears don't get any Browns draft picks if we lure Holdman away. The Eagles would want draft picks for Trotter. Butch Davis likes draft picks. You do the math.
By the way, the Texans now have a linebacking corps of Kailee Wong, Jones, and Jamie Sharper. Not bad.
The same Tribune story discusses the situation around Blake Brockermeyer, the Bears offensive tackle. I don't have to remind long-term BTNG / Bernie's Insiders readers that the Browns had a jones for Brockermeyer a couple of years ago. Brock could have hit the free agent market if the Bears didn't pay him a signing bonus he was due today. Well, Brockermeyer and his agent have given the Bears a couple more weeks to work things out. This is a stange case of reasonableness on the part of an agent that is going to perplex me all day.
MORE FREE AGENT NOTES: The Post-Dispatch reports that Shawn Barber will visit their fair city. It's not known whether the Rams are thinking of trying to move Barber to the middle to replace London Fletcher. Nonetheless, Barber is continuing his tour of potential employers. The ever-annoying Texans are also in the hunt for James Allen, according to the Houston Chronicle.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST. WELL, ACTUALLY, LEAST: I couldn't help noticing in the Post-Dispatch story that Joe Jurevicius is dropping into America's heartland to talk to the Rams about joining their Arena Football team. Or whatever. I guess that the Browns aren't concerned about signing hometown boys the same way that OSU coach John Cooper was more interested in players from California than Ohio. Jurevicius played on the east side of Cleveland, at Lake Catholic High School.
Now that Jurevicius is a free agent, one would think that the WR-deprived Browns might have an interest in a player who is possibly more inclined to sign because of his hometown connection. Or maybe a middle linebacker. John Carroll's London Fletcher anyone? Clearly, Ohio connections mean little to nothing to the Browns front office. I suspect that it's all somehow Antonio Langham's fault.
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