Save for the Jamal Lewis signing two days ago and a few visits by free agents hear and there, Berea has been relatively quiet the last few days.
That all changed in a big way today as several moves were made and announced by the Cleveland Browns:
---The biggest—and least-surprising—news of the day was the trade of running back Reuben Droughns.
First reported by Ken Palmer of Scout's "TheGiantInsider", the Browns traded the back to New York in exchange for wide receiver Tim Carter. Droughns was the first Cleveland running back in 20 years to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season, but followed that up with a disappointing 2006 that started with off-the-field issues and ended with on-the-field disappointment.
The signing of Lewis for all intents and purposes made Droughns expendable.
As reported by The OBR and ESPN.com yesterday evening, the Browns were in talks with several teams regarding a trade for Droughns. Additionally, The OBR reported that, if a trade for Droughns could not be worked out, he would be released before a roster bonus of $1.75 million was due on March 17.
---Daylon McCutcheon, one of two remaining players from the first season of the new Browns, was released from his contract, the announcement of which came at the bottom of the press release featuring details of the Droughns trade.
When reached by The OBR seeking clarification as to whether or not an injury settlement was reached with McCutcheon, Browns' VP of Communications Bill Bonsiewicz stated in an e-mail that the Browns "have released Daylon, however we are not commenting on the specifics."
McCutcheon, who ended the 2006 season on injured reserve, would have needed to be cleared medically in order to be released outright. Or, in lieu of medical clearance, the Browns and McCutcheon would have needed to reach an injury settlement, much the same as they did with William Green in the early part of last season..
---The McCutcheon release leaves Phil Dawson as the only player left from the 1999 expansion season.
That, however, could be changing as well as Alex Marvez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting that the Browns are one of four teams that will be interested in place-kicker Olando Mare' if/when he is released by the Dolphins.
---According to the Bengals official website, the Browns have signed defensive tackle Shaun Smith to an offer sheet. The website did not report the details of the contract, and messages left for Smith's agent have not been returned.
One of the attractions to Smith on the part of the Browns, other than his sheer size, is that the lineman was tendered at a level such that it would not require the Browns to send a draft pick to the Bengals should Cincinnati decide to not match Cleveland's offer sheet. The Bengals will have seven days to match the offer Smith received from the Browns, or else lose Smith without any compensation.
---Former Browns safety Brian Russell has signed with the Seahawks according to Adam Caplan of Scout.com. Terms of the agreement are not yet known.
Earlier today in the ATI forum, The OBR reported that they had learned that the safety visited with the Seahawks on Wednesday. He and the Browns had "very minimal" contact since the start of free agency a week ago.
---This is only the second visit by a Browns free agent that we are aware of, with the first being Alvin McKinley visiting the Chiefs. Remember, Dennis Northcutt didn't visit Jacksonville before signing with them.
---Also, Rod Hood, in whom the Browns continue to maintain an interest, visited with the Saints on Wednesday.