Lane's Free Agency and Draft Notes

The Browns have been keeping the buzz to a minimum prior to tonight's ringing of the free agency bell. But will there be surprises? Here's the latest that Lane has heard about the Browns free agency and draft plans...

-- On the free agency front, many observers believe the Browns are going to be a non-player in the early days of the signing period. Head coach Eric Mangini offered little when discussing free agency recently - and led many to believe the team would not be an impact player. Contrary to this belief, theOBR has learned the Browns are in the final stages of solidifying their salary-cap standing - which could result in the release or restructure of a handful of contracts, while providing the organization a speculated 10-million dollar bump in salary-cap room to sign players.

-- We can say what we want about the reported rifts players and coaches had with Mangini while in New York, the Cleveland experience could be the contrary. TheOBR has spoken with players and agents recently regarding former New England Patriots and New York Jets available personnel… let's just say there is going to be considerable interest from the Browns in a number of players from the above groups.

-- Don't look for the Eric Steinbach, Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams-type deals from the Browns immediately following the start of the free agent player signing period. But dont' despair - the Browns are believed to have a few things in the works regarding impact additions to the roster. 

-- With the fifth overall selection in the college player draft, the Browns are poised to select a player who can immediately step in and contribute. At the top of many draft boards will be linebacker Aaron Curry. The Browns are high on the Wake Forest product, but the organization does not believe he will be available with the fifth-selection.

-- Scouts and other members of the personnel department for the Browns have talked to numerous players at the Senior Bowl and at the recent Combine event in Indianapolis. Linebackers and wide receivers garnered considerable attention.  While linebacker Clay Matthews has impressed, he does not appear to fit into the Browns scheme, while Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga have modestly caught the eye of Browns representatives. Neither player is on the Browns radar with the #5 pick from based on information gathered by theOBR.

-- An interesting player may be sitting there at #5 when the Browns are on the clock, and is in the sights of the Browns: DE Everette Brown. Brown would be an undersized end and not an apparent fit for the Browns, but the Florida State product has been nonetheless discussed by the Browns as a potential OLB.

-- While at the Senior Bowl and combine, the Browns fed themselves a steady dose of wide receivers. This type of interest in normal for these events, but in the case of the Browns they are taking a very active approach due to questions about the quality and depth on the roster. As names have been lobbed out by those in attendance, we do know the Browns have more than a passing interest in LSU's Demetrius Byrd, USF's Taurus Johnson and Mike Wallace of Mississippi.

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