Barring an unexpected setback, Nate Clements "will become a member" of his hometown Cleveland Browns, a source close to the cornerback reaffirmed to The OBR late this evening. A deal, the source said, should be completed tomorrow morning and should be announced tomorrow afternoon. While the two sides have yet to officially engage in talks, the parameters of a deal are in place and the two sides are merely waiting for 12:01: a.m. Friday morning to talk specific contract language. While those talks could produce unforeseen road blocks, the source admitted, that is not expected to be the case.
And what of these "road blocks" and "unexpected setbacks" and what do they consist of? Money, of course. A league source tells The OBR that the Browns will not be afraid to throw insane amounts of money at Clements, but they do have a financial "fold" point that they will adhere to. While the source would not specify any numbers that would cause the Browns to back away from the bargaining table, it's believed that the number would be well in excess of $20 million in guaranteed money.
On the David Carr-to-Cleveland front, the Texans have indeed approached the Browns regarding the quarterback but have been told that there is no interest on the part of Cleveland at this time. Could that change? "It's doubtful," a Browns source said. General manager Phil Savage was even more direct in his response to the Carr rumors. When reached by e-mail earlier this evening regarding a report from WKYC's Jim Donovan that a trade could happen soon, Savage told The OBR that there is no truth to the purported trade. "Absolutely not. I'm not sure where this rumor came from. Silly season," Savage's e-mail read.
The agents for guard Kris Dielman—who will be one of the Browns' top targets in the initial phase of free agency—and the Chargers have spoken twice in the last two weeks and the talks, according to one San Diego front office source, did not result in any progress on a new contract. The two sides did speak briefly today, but the Chargers are resigned to the fact that their talented interior lineman will not return. The source rates the Browns and Dolphins with the best chance of landing the massive lineman.
And speaking of free-agent guards, there is a growing feeling around league circles that the Browns are more interested in Eric Steinbach than they are Dielman, and that the talk of Dielman is merely a smokescreen. Either way, one thing is certain: after Clements, the Browns main target is one of either Steinbach or Dielman. And the Browns will go all-in to acquire the services of one of the two.
A mere six hours after being released by the Steelers, the head count of teams expressing interest in the linebacker is up to seven. And, seeing as how this is a Browns website, yes, that grouping of teams includes your very own Cleveland Browns. The talks regarding the Browns, and all of the teams for that matter, are "exploratory in nature… nothing that can be categorized as serious at this point" a source close to Porter tells The OBR.
Given Savage's ties to the Ravens organization, those close to free-agent-to-be Tony Pashos expects the offensive lineman to receive more-than-minimal attention from the Browns. While the Browns are publicly encouraged by the progress of right tackle Ryan Tucker from an undisclosed mental illness, they are privately worried that they cannot rely on him for an entire season. Adding the young and talented Pashos would not break the bank and would also provide insurance should Tucker not completely or fully return from his mental issue.
One Browns source has told The OBR to not completely shut the door on Brian Russell returning to Cleveland. "If he doesn't find a big (financial) market out there" starting on Friday, the source said, "there's a chance he could be re-signed." It's expected, however, that Russell will receive an offer on the open market which is well above what the Browns would be willing to pay to retain the safety.
Before the Browns hired Wes Chandler to replace Terry Robiskie as the club's wide receivers coach, the team interviewed Charlie Baggett for the position. In addition to an interview with the Browns, Baggett also interviewed for NFL jobs in Dallas and Miami before landing on Tyrone Willingham's University of Washington coaching staff.