Adkins: What We've Been Told

Deal or no deal? That's been the question as the Browns consider a parade of free agents. Lane Adkins gets to the bottom of why some free agents signed elsewhere, why contracts have been tweaked, and who remains interested in coming to Cleveland...

  • Linebacker Chaun Thompson was close to re-signing with the Browns, until the Houston Texans jumped in the mix. Thompson, seeking an opportunity to start, leapt at the opportunity in Houston. The Texans offered him a financial deal only slightly better than the Cleveland offer, but with the understanding he would compete at outside linebacker. For Thompson, this deal gives him a chance to return home for him in Texas.


  • Linebacker Andra Davis' contract restructure comes as no surprise. As we reported three weeks ago, the Browns were going to get a restructured deal out of Davis or release him. At the time of Phil Savage's press conference addressing free agency, he was asked specifically about Andra Davis and said nothing was happening at that time. Savage is an honest guy, so one could say he was being truthful 'at that time', shortly following 'that time' the restructured deal was done. From a financial perspective Davis' base salary for the 2008 season is between 1.6 and 1.7 million dollars, but workout and other bonuses could put his salary cap hit at 3.6 million dollars, netting the Browns a small cap savings for the 2008 season. The key is that his new deal voids the 2009 and 2010 contract seasons, making him a free agent at the end of the season.


  • Linebacker Darryl Blackstock signed with the Cincinnati Bengals recently, shortly after he visited the Browns. Cleveland was interested in the three-year veteran, but Blackstock will get a substantial opportunity in Cincinnati which he would not have received in Cleveland. His decision to sign with Cincinnati had nothing to do with the contract financials, but rather the opportunity for significant playing time which was not being promised by Cleveland. Signing a one-year deal in Cincinnati, Blackstock could blossom making him much more sought-after player in free agency next year. The arrangement is similar to that the Browns and Jamal Lewis had in 2007.


  • Free agent defensive lineman William Joseph signed with the Oakland Raiders following a visit with the Browns. Cleveland did have interest in the oft-injured lineman, but did not engage in significant contract discussions. As many free agents who visit the Browns have learned, Cleveland is not the type of organization that offers up false promises, such as a guaranteed starting role.


  • Veteran linebacker Al Wilson visited with the team recently and had a physical examination. While Wilson departed without a contract offer, the Browns and Wilson's agent, Peter Schaffer, are communicating and significant contract discussions could be forthcoming. Whether a deal happens is going to depend on the Cleveland front office believing Wilson can return after a season away from the game due to his neck injury. Wilson has been medically cleared to play.


  • Offensive lineman Rex Hadnot inked a two-year deal with the Browns recently. Looking to secure talent and depth along the line, Hadnot's versatility was a major selling point for the Browns. Another Browns offensive lineman, Seth McKinney, is both an unsigned free agent and is coming off injury. Hadnot helps fill the gap left offer and offers versatility which could be vital for Browns if their injury luck is less fortunate than last year. What sold Hadnot on Cleveland was the opportunity to compete for the starting job at right guard, as well as the winning potential and guaranteed compensation in his deal.


  • Defensive back Gary Baxter continues on his path of doing what was seemingly impossible; completing at the highest level in football despite suffering tears in both patellar tendons. Baxter, a free agent, has been a diligent participant in the Browns' weight room and did not entertain the notion of attempting his comeback anywhere else, prior to officially inking a one-year contract with the Browns.


  • Former Detroit Lions defensive end Kalimba Edwards has let it be known to some friends in the league he would like to play for the Browns. Cleveland has an interest in the player as an outside linebacker/situational pass rusher, but to what degree is the question.



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