Adkins: A Blizzard of Rumors

While the OBR crew joins the rest of Ohio in digging ourselves out from under a massive March snowfall, the usual suspects continue to churn out rumors. Sometimes even based on things that could be true! Lane shines a beacon of light through the the off-season fog surrounding players like Kellen Winslow, William Joesph, Shaun Smith, Derek Anderson and more...

It's the off-season and it's all about the rumors. As with every off-season, intense speculation and rumors of varying merit make the rounds from the teams to the media, to the fans on the message boards. And back again. 

Here's some of the latest rumors, and our takes on them:

The Rumor: Tight-end Kellen Winslow is on the verge of a lengthy holdout if his contract is not redone by the Browns this off-season.

The Skinny: Winslow's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has noted publicly that he expects the Browns to re-negotiate the Pro Bowl tight end's contract. Winslow's contract has another three years to run and the team could take a hard stance against re-opening negotiations. According to a source close to the situation, Rosenhaus has dropped the notion of a contract into the publi -eye, not only to let the Browns know he is serious about a new deal, but also to increase pressure on the Browns, who have been adamant in maintaining continuity.

The Rumor:  Wide receiver Braylon Edwards is on the verge of accepting a new three-year deal worth approximately 25 million dollars.

The Skinny: All indications are that the new representatives for Edwards have been in contact with the team in regards to the wide receiver, but a negotiation process has not begun in earnest.

The Rumor:
The Browns have an interest in defensive end William Joseph and are on the verge of offering the oft-injured player a contract.

The Skinny: The Cleveland front office has had some discussions regarding Joseph, but it would be a reach to state that the team is on the verge of signing him. The Browns are expected to work out for the former first-round draft selection. They look at Joseph as a player that could address the issue of the team's questionable depth at defensive end .

The Rumor: Defensive end Shaun Smith stated during an appearance at the Maryland Browns Backers function that he was not going to return to the team for the 2008 season.

The Skinny: False. Smith noted he does not know what to expect heading into the 2008 season due to the trade which brings Shaun Rogers to Cleveland, although he was told by his position coach not to worry about the acquisitions.

The RumorThe Browns are in the market for help at inside and outside linebacker and were out-bid in an effort to secure the services of Lance Briggs in the early days of free agency.

The Skinny: The Browns had a very mild interest, but were not in the market to pay six-plus million a season for a player who ultimately didn't want to play in the 3-4 defense.

The Rumor: Prior to negotiating with wide receiver Donte Stallworth, the Browns had an interest in former Chicago Bears receiver Bernard Berrian.

The Skinny: The Browns had an interest but quickly moved on when they got a full realization of the outlandish deal the receiver wanted.

The Rumor:  As the hours counted down  to the free agent player signing period, the Browns upped their offer to quarterback Derek Anderson, as there was a belief a team was lurking which was going to make a move on the QB, only to trade him for a high first-round draft selection.

The Skinny: I have been led to believe this was indeed the case, with the Dallas Cowboys being the team most likely at the center of the saga. The team which would have ultimately would have received Anderson was Baltimore or Atlanta.

The Rumor: 
If the Browns can land a high-quality outside linebacker, veteran Willie McGinest may be released.

The Skinny: Although the Browns continue to look for an outside linebacker to get to the QB and provide depth, the 2008 season is very likely to be McGinest's last. I do not see the team releasing him.

The Rumor
: Offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley is on the verge of returning to the NFL, but there are indications the Browns are ready to move on without him in 2008.

The Skinny: Bentley is expected to be in camp for this summer's OTA's and mini-camps. While Bentley remains under contract to the Browns, there is a belief the Cleveland native will not play a down in a regular season game with the team. Almost from the onset following knee surgery and staph infection issues, the team and Bentley have seemingly had different expectations.

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