In-Box: Free Agents, Joe J, and More...

New contracts, new free agent players, new dynamics. Lane looks at it all, including free agency updates, the status of Joe J. and Ryan Tucker, and much, much, more in this latest Tales from the Inbox...

Q: What should we take from the Browns trading tight-end Kellen Winslow? Our offense was already challenged with Winslow. How can this trade benefit the Browns?

LA: The benefit is the team recoups a 2nd and 5th round draft selection. The 2nd round selection is of the utmost importance in 2009, as the draft is reasonably deep in talent - and the Browns definitely have some issues to deal with concerning the roster. It also helps the Browns, as Winslow's deal is off the books and they regain salary-cap space and now do not have to enter into a renegotiation process with his agent. This was a point of contention with this organization. Also, do not think for a second the new regime in Cleveland did not look at all the tape and see Winslow was not nearly the dynamic receiver last year that he was in the 2007 season. The common belief in league circles is that Winslow may have played his best football and will now simply become ordinary. 

Q: The team has not been active in free agency…  why we are seeing little activity coming from a 4-12 team?

LA: Granted, the Browns have not signed a great number of players, or signed that 'high-profile' type many would like to see. The organization has been active in talks with agents and representatives for prospective players and I anticipate we will see continued signings similar to the TE Robert Royal and DE C.J. Mosely-type deals.

Q: Does signing Robert Royal from Buffalo signify a change of approach in how the Browns use tight ends?

LA: Royal comes to Cleveland, known as a solid blocker and the TE position will assume more responsibility in this area heading into the 2009 season. Royal has also had some success as a receiver, but this is not the overall strength of his game.

Q: With the talk of Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards being available for trade, could you see the Browns dealing one or both on draft-day?

LA: Yes, from various accounts, the Browns are open to trading Anderson and Edwards, their only legitimate starting quality receiver (we'll keep Donte Stallworth out of the equation). As we get close to the draft, we'll begin to hear more chatter regarding both these players if something doesn't happen with Anderson as the days close in on his five million dollar bonus date of approximately March 15th.

Q: What is the story with Joe Jurevicius? Is he going to play in 2009?

LA: From all accounts, Jurevicius is working toward playing in the 2009 season, but after the serious knee issues and staph infection problems, I believe it is going to be difficult for him, but he does have the drive to succeed.

Q: You guys were way ahead of the curve on Ryan Tucker's contract renegotiation. Does this secure his place on the roster for the 2009 season and at what position?

LA: Yes, Tucker basically agreed to restructure his deal (scooped by theOBR's Barry McBride), which is now much closer to the veteran minimum and if healthy he could be in line to play the right guard or right tackle position.  The restructure provided the team cap space and Tucker is not the only player the team has contacted in this regard.

Q: Kevin Shaffer and Donte Stallworth are two players commanding large salaries and do not provide the production equaling their big paychecks. Is there anything in the works with these two players, possibly releasing or restructuring them?

LA: Stallworth is due a bonus shortly and has been a topic of conversation within the ranks of the Browns for quite some time. In the end, something is going to happen regarding the player and his contract. As for Shaffer, he is a player theOBR identified some time ago regarding a possible restructure. As of now, it is not looking very good for a new deal for him.

Q: I have read extensively on your site that the Browns would be talking with numerous former New York Jets players due to their ties to head coach Mangini. Being said, what is the latest information as far as contract are concerned?

LA: We have had the opportunity to talk to a couple of Mangini's former players and they have relayed to theOBR a desire to come to Cleveland. Being said, C.J. Mosely has inked a deal with the Browns, David Bowens is in negotiations with the team, Eric Barton has talked with Mangini and the Browns are exploring options in regards to a safety from the Jets. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was written last night, prior to the signing of DB Hank Poteat).

Q: What happened with the Browns interest in linebackers Heath Farwell and Paris Lenon?

LA: The Browns were very interested in Farwell and were close to landing him until the Vikings (his present team) upped their offer. The linebacker wanted to remain in Minnesota first and foremost, all other things being equal. As for Lenon, the Browns and agent for the player have had a couple discussions - something could heat-up in the coming days between he, as well as Barton and the Browns.

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