There are some things you can't kill even if you swat them one hundred times. I'm one of them. I don't know when or if you'll hear from me again, but I'll do what I can.
Here's what they're saying before I go in to grab the leftover doughnuts. This group doesn't leave many more than the old group.
BRADY: Talk talk talk. That's all it is. The team hasn't discussed dealing him, but a trade could be made if the right opportunity presented itself. Derek Anderson is more likely to be traded, but no one is untouchable. Mangini and the gang want more draft picks, but…. let's put it this way – if the regular season kicked off today, Quinn would be the QB.
BRAYLON: Answer hazy, ask again later, like those Magic 8 Balls use to say. The team hasn't finished the process with him and the the next four weeks will be crucial. Just because there's weakness at receiver doesn't mean Braylon will be here all year.
TRADE TALK: This three-team trade involving a Browns QB, Jay Cutler from Denver, and whatever the Lions would throw into the mess is just ludicrous. When was the last three-team trade in the NFL? Seriously. The Lions wouldn't mind getting Cutler, but there hasn't been anything real.
FREE AGENTS: My take, hanging here on the wall, is I think we could have done better. There's no reason we couldn't have gotten a cornerback like Jabari Greer, which would have made us all sleep better. Sometimes teams have to go above and beyond, and they wouldnt' do that. Same is true at safety. James Sanders was a serviceable player, but the offer made to him was such that other teams didn't have to reach too far to sign him away.
In free agency, the idea is to slide experienced players into slots. These vets are going to do things that aren't a huge leap for them and they will be comfortable with doing what the team asks them to do. A lot of these guys won't be around in 2010 or two years from now. They're coming in to stabilize the roster and patch holes.
Youth is going to start coming to Cleveland, and these players are there to help out. No one thought or wanted the 2009 free agents to be the core of this club, which is going to come through the draft.
ABOUT THE DRAFT: Listen carefully. The draft is where the action will be. The guys in charge know that some look on them as lumbering and clueless right now, but they might have something interesting up their sleeves. This club is looking to make a major splash on the first day of the draft – a major splash – like you haven't seen in a while in the NFL. How does the idea of five picks in the top 50 or 55 strike you? It's not out of the question.
WATCHING THE TAPE: The free agents signings were very much influenced by the film. Last year, the defensive ends played like their feet were in quicksand. Linebackers were consistently out of position which was okay because they were slow to react in pursuit, too. They rarely made a play that mattered.
The right side of the offensive line was like watching freshmen playing their first couple of games at a major college.
DON'T MISUNDERESTIMATE: Do you really believe signing a couple linebackers that have played on our defensive scheme - one which made plenty of tackles for a better-than-average rush defense a season ago - isn't an upgrade?
How about adding some physical players on the right-side of the line? The new guys aren't All-Pros here, but don't tell me Womack and St. Clair aren't an upgrade in talent and depth. Relative to Rex Hadnot and Kevin Shaffer? Let's be real. Womack and St. Clair can get push off the point of attack, which was a significant issue for last year's group.
Are we clear? Had to get that out of my system.
The team is not done yet in free agency. There will be some bargain free agents, potentially at wide receiver, safety and the defensive line. They'll sign when the market dollars are dried-up except for a few teams like the Browns.
The team has sufficiently positioned itself to make some potential impact moves on draft day, but is not done making roster moves heading into the draft, and they shouldn't be. The defensive backfield is below average in both quality and depth. The depth at safety is alarming and will lead to a signing or two, one may ultimately be Lawyer Milloy, dependent on another option out there. There is going to be some addressing of the wide receiver position, for sure.
CUTS AND NOT CUTS: So, fans are asking why the team would terminate the contracts of Shaffer and Jurevicius, but keep Stallworth and even Jamal Lewis on the books. It's simple. There's not another running back behind Lewis who can start, and the cap hit would kill. As for Donte, there's no depth at receiver, so the team figured they were stuck for the bonus and they would bring him back and see if they got lucky, even though it was a long shot. The team was stuck with him.
Kevin Shaffer just wasn't worth the money he was making. That's all there is there. But Joe was tough. He's a local kid and wanted to play for the Browns and got derailed by a routine surgery. The team wanted to let him come back for the veteran minimum and make up for what he gave up financially with incentives and bonuses. Very similar to what Tucker agreed to. But he didn't want to play for that sort of deal, so he was released. Simple as that.
I know there's a lot of negative vibes out there. I pick them up on my feet while I hang here. It was time for someone to say something different. Sometimes for that, you need to listen to the guys with the six feet.