Just Wondering: The Jets made the playoffs at 9-7 and came within one game of making it to the Super Bowl. For the most part, the team was built by Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum. Remember, the Jets were 8-3 in 2008, before they went into free fall and finished at 9-7 to miss the playoffs and Mangini was fired. A lot of that might have had to do with Brett Favre having a throwing arm that needed to be surgically repaired as Favre's play went downhill dramatically over the final five games of 2008. Last year, the Jets were fined for not disclosing that Favre's arm was injured. With a surgically repaired arm, Favre had one of the best seasons of his storied career with the Vikings in 2009.
However, with that being said, Mangini brought no less than 11 players over from the Jets to play key roles for the Browns. At least nine of the players started or played significant amounts of time for the Browns in 2009. Those coming from New York were: LB Eric Barton, LB David Bowens, CB Hank Poteat, DE Kenyon Coleman, DB Abe Elam, QB Brett Ratliff, P Reggie Hodges, DL C. J. Mosley, WR Chansi Stuckey, LB Jason Trusnik and OL Jason Capizzi. It was obvious that the Jets didn't miss many, if any, of the former Jets.
Also, don't forget the Browns helped the Jets by making the trade that allowed them to select their starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, and the trade that sent Braylon Edwards to the Big Apple.
You can look at the Jets situation in two different ways: You could say that Mangini had the Jets heading in the right direction and built a solid foundation or that Rex Ryan was the key to putting the Jets into the position to go to the AFC Championship.
Rumor Mill: A recent rumor coming out of Denver is the Broncos might be willing to trade WR Brandon Marshall for QB Brady Quinn. While I think the Broncos will move Marshall, it is hard for me to believe that Marshall would end up in Cleveland. He is clearly not the type of player that Mangini would want on his team. If Mangini doesn't want a Kellen Winslow or Braylon Edwards, I don't think he would be in favor of having Marshall. In my opinion, if a trade did occur to bring Marshall to Cleveland, it would be clear to me that the move would've had to come from Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert. Marshall, obviously, is a great talent. Three consecutive seasons with over 100 catches speaks for itself. With that being said, I believe the Browns would be getting much more value in a trade of Marshall for Quinn even up. If the Browns could make the trade and then ended up using Marshall to leverage for more value that would be a good move. However, I can't see that type of trade being made by the Broncos.
Decisions Coming: Everyone knows the Browns' WR/KR Josh Cribbs wants a new contract, but there are a couple of other contract situations that the team might need to deal with. K Phil Dawson quietly missed most of the voluntary minicamps last season and privately expressed his displeasure with his contract. Although he didn't publicly complain about his contract situation, he has hinted about possibly retiring. Another player seeking a new deal is LB D'Qwell Jackson. It is believed the Browns and Jackson's agents were in the process of seeking an extension last year, but Jackson was injured and missed the majority of the season. With the good possibility of the collective bargaining agreement expiring if a new deal isn't agreed upon, the Browns might be getting a break. Players like Lawrence Vickers, Jerome Harrison and Jackson would remain restricted free agents, thus severely limiting the player's ability to leave.
Regarding Cribbs, since his national press tour complaining about his contract there has been very little coming from the Cribbs camp. The silence has been deafening, thus Cribbs and the Browns are starting to make progress. The same Cribbs who cleaned out his locker and said he didn't think he'd ever play for the Browns again looked pretty good in an orange helmet in the Pro Bowl.
Kudos for Cribbs, Lewis: Cribbs and RB Jamal Lewis were recently named to the NFL All-Decade team for the 2000's. The 53-man team was selected by the Hall of Fame selection committee. Cribbs was named along with Dante Hall as the kick returners. Cribbs' eight kickoff returns for touchdowns are an NFL record. There were four running backs selected. Besides Lewis, the other three were Shaun Alexander, LaDanian Tomlinson and Edgerrin James.
Heisman Troy: Former Glenville and Ohio State standout QB Troy Smith has expressed an interest in returning to his hometown and play for the Browns. After being drafted by the Ravens in the sixth-round, Smith appears to have hit a dead end in Baltimore with Joe Flacco emerging with the Ravens. The Browns are in the midst of trying to evaluate if they have their franchise quarterback currently on the roster or if they need to sign an unrestricted free agent, trade for a quarterback or draft a quarterback in the 2010 NFL Draft. There has been some speculation that Seahawks' quarterback Matt Hasselbeck would be a target, as he's been with Holmgren in Green Bay and in Seattle.