The Insiders Report

Squashing the Fina rumors, plus news on an old man drawing interest from the Browns, Phil-ing in the details of kicker's deal, and more FA WR rumblings.

Rumors started to circulate that the Browns would have an interest in Buffalo offensive tackle John Fina, if he were to be released on June 1st. A source close to the Browns tells The Insiders a different tale.

"That is just some rumor that has no basis nor substance. Fina is a player that came out of college with high expectations. Injuries have hurt him and he isn't nearly the player that he was," the source said. "He can still play the game, but you have to worry about him. Signing him to a short-term deal for a minimal cost could be an effective option for a team with offensive line concerns, his experience surely would help a team."

"At this time the Browns have expressed absolutely no interest in John (Fina)."......

Speaking of the offensive line, this is one to put in your memory bank. The Insiders has learned that the Browns may have an interest in veteran Ray Brown. Brown, expected to be released by the San Francisco 49ers on June 1st, would provide the Browns with an experienced linemen in the event that Tre' Johnson can't answer the bell in training camp.
As reported in this space three months ago, Brown instructed his agent to put out feelers to the Browns letting them know that he had an interest in playing for Cleveland if/when he was released by San Francisco.  Brown thinks very highly of Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark, and would be very interested in reuniting with the former 49er duo.
The 92-year-old Brown -- OK, he'll turn 40 in December -- is coming off his first-ever Pro Bowl season, and still feels that he has at least two good playing years left in his tank......
According to a league source, the four-year deal reached by the Browns and kicker Phil Dawson is worth in the neighborhood of $3.3 million over the life of the contract.
Dawson will receive base salaries of $500,000 (2002), $530,000 (2003), $600,000 (2004) and $700,000 (2005), and received a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $1 million, the source said. 
The two sides, who had been discussing a contract throughout the offseason for the restricted free agent, finally reached an agreement after the Browns upped the signing bonus they were offering, a source close to Dawson told The Insiders......
The Browns, even after drafting a wide receiver in the second round yet again, will be a player in what is expected to be a quality post-June 1 wide receiver market. 
Yes, they will have an interest in Keenan McCardell, but keep the name Derrick Alexander in mind as well.  With interest in McCardell expected to be substantive -- no less than eight teams are expected to pursue the Pro Bowl receiver -- The Insiders continue to hear Alexander's name as a real possibility on the Browns' radar screen if the furious fight for McCardell's services proves to be fruitless.

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