News and views . . .
Views: Mixed emotions on Eric Mangini's first big deal.
Tempted to say good riddance to Winslow, who provided more of a distraction than an attraction in his five seasons with the Browns.
At the same time, it'll be difficult for the club to replace the enthusiasm and raw, almost visceral, approach he brought to the field on Sundays. He was the team's only emotional leader. When he was healthy, that is.
And that was part of the problem. Winslow is a 25-year-old man going on 50 in terms of health as a football player. He aches just about everywhere on his anatomy. His natural talent has been severely diminished by a rash of injuries, self-inflicted and otherwise.
Too many factors weighed against the possibility of the mercurial Winslow hanging around Cleveland for another five years, not the least of which was the specter of a monstrous contract squabble that most likely would have turned nasty.
If Winslow had to be moved, this was the perfect time. And the new regime in Tampa Bay turned out to be the perfect partners.
That Mangini was able to extract a second-round draft pick this year was huge. Former General Manager Phil Savage left the draft cupboard relatively bare this year and Mangini did a nice job of partially restocking it.
The Browns, New England Patriots and Detroit Lions are the only teams with three picks in the top 50. And considering it appears as though Mangini and GM George Kokinis have begun a restructuring – not a tinkering – of the club, that's huge.
Three first-day selections will plug a lot of important holes on the Cleveland roster. The importance of securing another second-round pick cannot be stressed enough. Especially in this year's draft, which is deep well into the second round.
The best way to build a solid core is through the draft. Free-agent signings should serve as nothing more than a buttress to that end.
News: The Browns appear reluctant to enter the free-agent market place.
Views: It is strangely quiet in Berea these days, except for the Winslow trade, and many fans are perplexed. They can't understand why the Browns haven't made any moves in free agency.
They obviously have been spoiled by the annual Phil Savage Free-Agent Rampage within seconds of the beginning of free agency. They can't understand why Mangini and Kokinis twiddle their thumbs while all the good free agents sign elsewhere.
It is apparent they have been schooled quite differently than Savage and don't jerk knees. In fact, there is the likelihood we won't see any Cleveland involvement until sometime next week when all the dust settles on the top tier or two of players.
Nothing wrong with that. Considering the way Savage's spending soirees have turned out, this might turn out to be the best way. Randy Lerner certainly won't object to the penurious approach.
Mangini and Kokinis thus far have shown restraint and a reluctance to dive head first into free agency so early when overspending seems to be the order of the day. After the first week, contract figures begin to normalize and players can be signed for exactly what they are worth.
The Browns will sign their fair share of free agents, but the autographs on those contracts will not send the fans into waves of rapture. It won't cause the skeptics to optimistically look forward to the 2009 season.
But they will be the players Mangini and Kokinis sought. And isn't that good enough reason to trust them?
News: Peter King of Sports Illustrated reports in his MMQB column that Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler requested a trade several weeks ago when Jeremy Bates, his offensive coordinator at Denver, bolted for USC.
McDaniels was generally credited with turning Matt Cassel into an extremely effective quarterback in New England last season after Tom Brady went down. And now that Cassel had landed in Kansas City and Cutler is still ticked about losing Bates, maybe McDaniels can be induced into thinking he can work the same miracle with Anderson or Quinn.
Just wondering. It's at least worth investigating.
I'd much rather have Cutler than Anderson or Quinn.
News: Braylon Edwards is rumored to be headed for (fill in the blank) in a trade.
Views: I love rumors. They're fun. They juice up the imagination. They make for great conversations and arguments.
But rumors are just that. According to the dictionary, they are unverified information. Babble. Gossip. Hearsay. Innuendo. Unsubstantiated insinuation. Scuttlebutt.
In other words, they are not to be taken seriously.
Before placing the stamp of legitimacy on a rumor, consider the wisdom and viability of it first. An overwhelming majority of them never leave the rumor stage.
Just remember the Winslow deal came from nowhere. No rumors. Not a peep. Not even speculation. It just happened. And it'll happen that way again. That's the way the Mangini-Kokinis team operates. Well under the radar,
News: Dallas owner/general manager/wannabe head coach/bon vivant/mover and shaker and all-around good guy Jerry Jones issues a gag order on the entire Cowboys organization.
Views: Trying to keep from laughing hysterically here.
We're guessing that dictum doesn't include the owner himself. After all, isn't the spotlight where Jones thinks he should be? All the time? The man can't get enough of the klieg lights.
Jones was more than a little miffed when word leaked that there were those in the organization who didn't want to bring back Terrell Owens. The unpredictable wide receiver is a personal favorite of Jones. Reportedly, one of the dissenters was Jones' son, Stephen.
Maybe another season of watching the playoffs on television will convince Jones that maybe he should have listened to those who wanted to see Owens in another uniform.
More News and Views next week…