Just what were the Browns doing in the days leading up to the 2002 NFL Draft? We just may have some insight as to some events that were underway within the walls of the Browns Berea, Ohio facility.
JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE!: Jamir Miller on the trading block? Surprise, shock, and outrage, sure all that and more. From "what we've been told" the Browns actively shopped Miller, looking for a first round or high second round draft choice in return for the 29-year old linebacker. Coming off a career year, the value of Miller was never higher.
Now that you know that much of the story, it's time to get to the rest of the story.
The Browns were seriously entertaining signing free agent linebacker Donnie Edwards (signed this past weekend by the San Diego Chargers)from the Kansas City Chiefs. Edwards was being looked at as a solid addition to the linebacker corps and from "what we've been told" an upgrade at the position. Where would he play, you guessed it, Jamir Miller's spot.
To get into position to get Edwards name on a contract, the Browns would have to free cap space and were in the position to trade the popular Miller.
There has been some discussion of restructuring the contracts of a few players on the roster in recent weeks. Just ten days ago, this column learned that the Browns and cornerback Corey Fuller hadn't had any 'serious' discussions concerning his contract, but was still willing to restructure his contract.
Another source told this column that Fuller was in the midst of a restructure that would significantly reduce the salary cap hit for the team. Conflicting information, go figure, when talking about the Browns. Representitives for Fuller were unavailable to comment when contacted.
Suddenly, the story was broke that the Browns were shopping Miller. Fielding a message from a league source that evening, this column learned that representatives for MIller asked to restructure his contract, paying him a signing bonus of approximately 12 million dollars, add an additional year onto his contract and reduce the yearly salary requirements.
A source close to the team informed this column that the Browns were serious about dealing Miller, contrary to a report that the Browns were just seeking a gauge as to Miller's market value.
When the Browns got wind of this offer, they wasted little time to find out what value Miller had on the market. Looking for additional draft selections, the Browns contacted numerous teams. Much to their chagrin, the best potential offer the Browns would receive was at best a third round draft choice.
With the thoughts of dealing Miller for a high draft selection to be used to move up in the 2002 NFL Draft dashed, acquiring Edwards was then out of the question. thrown out the window. The Browns were not willing to create the upfront and base revenue required by Edwards without seriously causing the team salary cap problems, while keeping Miller.
How does Corey Fuller play into this mess?
Thanks to a great tip in the Bernie's Insiders Rumor Central Forum, according to the NFLPA, Fuller's 2002 and 2003 base salaries had been greatly reduced, clearing salary cap room for the team (IE: Edwards signing).
These sure aren't your fathers Cleveland Browns!
Mike Lombardi, are you back in Cleveland?