Tales from the In-Box: Cornerback Edition

The Browns come into the 2008 season with an unusual level of stability on their roster. Only a few starting spots are up for grabs. Eyes will be on the cornerback position, however, after the trade of Leigh Bodden and with youngsters fighting for the job. How will the Browns address the issue? Lane gives you the latest scoop...

Q: The trade which sent Leigh Bodden to Detroit leaves the Browns thin at the cornerback position. What is the organization thinking or what will they do to correct this issue? 

LA: The organization is high on some of the players worked into the rotation last season, such as Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald. While very young at cornerback, I do not believe the situation is as dire as many want to believe. As the off-season continues, I expect the organization to look at adding another player to the mix in the defensive backfield, but not a higher profile type player. Veteran Kenny Wright remains with the team and adds a veteran presence, while Daven Holly is expected to return and has been in the system for a couple years.

Q: We have heard rumors that the Browns had been in talks with the Oakland Raiders for cornerback Fabian Washington. A recent report notes the Raiders have an offer on the table from an unnamed club which would bring them a second-round pick in return for the player. How can the Browns be in the mix and is the player worth the cost?

LA: If the Raiders indeed have an offer to receive a second-round pick for Washington, what are they waiting for? The Browns do not have that level of interest in the speedy cornerback, nor has the player displayed the on-field production to warrant such a price in the open market. Let's remember, the Browns do not have picks in the first three rounds of the draft.

Q: Chris Carr visited the Browns and it is believed the team made an offer to the cornerback. What happened with the Cleveland interest and why did he choose to sign an offer with another team?

LA: The Browns did visit with Carr and expressed interest in the player filling a depth-type role with the team. Phil Savage noted prior to free agency the organization would talk to many players throughout this process and there would be less aggressive signings than in the past. So, the front office is doing due diligence in situations like this. As for Carr specifically, his options were limited - especially with the Browns. He is strong in the return game, which is already set in Cleveland, and would have had to compete for a spot in the secondary as a nickel or dime defender.

Q: Of all the available cornerbacks remaining available, Ty Law stands out as a veteran that could help a team such as the Browns. Has the team expressed an interest in the veteran and would he like to play for Crennel again?

LA: We have been told the Browns have not expressed interest in the veteran cornerback, but he is believed to have spoken with Romeo Crennel this off-season. Law is not the player he was a few years ago. He can help a team with a need, but should not be counted on to be the shutdown corner he once was. In the right scheme he can be effective and certainly provide quality depth, but at this time there is not a team beating down his door.

Q: The Browns have had their share of characters on the team. This off-season they bring in Shaun Rogers who has a history of questionable behavior and another malcontent in Donte Stallworth. Why wouldn't the Browns bring in a player such as Pacman Jones, who has had some trouble, but is an amazing talent?

LA: While Rogers has some past issues including maintaining his physical conditioning, I would not begin to put him and Jones in the same category. It is one thing to deal with a player that has had an issue which could be controllable within the structure and another to deal with off-field issues. In the case of Jones, the risk and the headaches are not worth the reward. As for Stallworth, I know nothing which places him into such discussion or comparison.

Q: With the Eagles signing Asante Samuel in free agency, it has been assumed the team is looking to trade cornerback Lito Sheppard. This player has performed at a high level, why wouldn't the Browns engage in discussions to secure his services? 

LA: The asking price is the issue. Philadelphia will want a first day draft pick for Sheppard, which the Browns do not have in 2008 and his contract could be another issue for a team such as the Browns.


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