John Taylor's Browns Buzz

It's quiet, but free agency isn't dead. Nor pining for the fjords. Here's the scoop on four potential new Browns...

Last Friday, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the Cleveland Browns would be one of four teams who would have an interest in Olindo Mare should he be released.

Now, not only can The OBR confirm that interest, we can also confirm that the Browns have been "engaged in active trade talks" with the Dolphins over the course of the last week.

A source close to the Browns would not confirm any specifics as far as the compensation being discussed, but did say that there have been several conversations between the two sides and that the talks were "steadily advancing".

At least on the Browns' side of the equation, no deal seems imminent.

The Friday report from the Florida paper also stated that, in addition to the Browns, the Giants, Redskins and Falcons had also expressed an early interest in Mare. Again, the source would not confirm any specific names, but did say that the Dolphins were "involved in active trade talks with several teams" even as they are engaged in talks with the Browns.

Mare, a ten-year veteran who is the Dolphins' all-time leader in field goal percentage, became expendable when Miami signed Jay Feeley to a three-year contract, a deal that included $2.5 million in guaranteed money. If a trade for Mare cannot be reached—which is unlikely—the kicker would be released and automatically become a free agent.

The Browns and the agent for defensive end Robaire Smith spoke once again last night, which was just the latest in a long line of recent conversations, but have yet to completely narrow the financial gap and reach an agreement.

As reported by The OBR yesterday, the Browns offered their first contract proposal to Mike Harrison, Smith's agent, over the weekend. Shortly thereafter, Harrison made a counter-proposal. Then, last night, Harrison received the Browns' response to his counter-proposal.

While the Browns are still not yet in Smith's expected financial neighborhood, Harrison said he was "encouraged by their latest offer" and that the two sides are definitely closer now than they were following the Browns' first offer.

It's expected to take $8-$10 million in guaranteed money to land Smith, but, once again, Harrison refused to get into the specifics of what his client is seeking.

Harrison told The OBR that he is involved in ongoing negotiations with two other clubs, including the Titans.

Kevin Kaesviharn will likely make a decision on his destination sometime in the next 24-48 hours, a league source has told The OBR.

Thus far in free agency, Kaesviharn has been contract talks with four teams: Browns, Bengals, Saints and Cardinals. He's made official visits to both Cleveland and New Orleans. There's also the possibility that a fifth, "unknown" team could enter the mix today, which could throw off the 24-48 hour timeline.

The Browns are not viewed as the frontrunners for the safety's services, but still remain part of the mix.

A source close to free-agent defensive tackle Shaun Smith tells The OBR that, while the Bengals still have yet to make an official decision, there are very few signs that they will end up matching the Browns' offer sheet.

The Bengals like Smith—and would like to retain him—but view him as a situational, backup-type player and are seemingly unwilling to pay that type of player the rumored four-year, $8 million deal he got from the Browns.

The Bengals have until Friday to match the offer or lose Smith without any compensation.

With Brady Quinn very much in the minds of both the Browns and their fans these days, here's a quote from an unnamed NFL front office-type regarding Quinn's sudden "resurrection" and the role his agent, Tom Condon, played in it.

"Have you noticed the amount of positive press (Quinn's) been getting lately? Do you think these writers all of the sudden just opened their eyes and changed their views of Quinn? Doubtful. This has Condon written all over it. He's the absolute best at working the back channels and getting his word on his client out there. That's part of the reason why high-profile picks gravitate toward him. If you're in a perceived slide, like Brady was, you want Condon on your side."

Free-agent defensive end Alvin McKinley will make an official visit with the Chiefs today, The OBR has learned. McKinley had a visit scheduled for earlier in free agency, but those plans were scrubbed for unspecified reasons. The defensive lineman started 30 games for the Browns the last two seasons, but Cleveland has shown very little interest in retaining the 28-year-old.

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