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News » Cleveland Browns Strategy and Personnel 2009-03-06


Cleveland Browns Strategy and Personnel 2009-03-06


Cleveland Browns Strategy and Personnel 2009-03-06
The Browns have been moving slowly in free agency but they have been busy creating salary cap room.


Offensive lineman Ryan Tucker, due to make $3.25 million in 2009 before free agency began, agreed to contract restructuring that will reduce his salary to $850,000. Kellen Winslow's salary of $4.5 million is also off the Browns' payroll.

With the adjustments and adding back in amortized bonuses for both players, the Browns are at least $20 million under the salary cap. They were about $14.5 million under the cap before free agency began.

TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY

The Browns did not score an offensive touchdown in any of their last six games, yet in the first week of free agency they spent most of their time concentrating on defensive players. None was signed, but that is where the focus has been, primarily because the majority of their own free agents are on defense.

The fact the Browns did not make a big splash early in free agency is an indication General Manager George Kokinis and Coach Eric Mangini believe the Browns need rebuilding. If they thought they could be a playoff team in 2009 they would not have traded Kellen Winslow on the first day of free agency.

TEAM NEEDS

1. Outside linebacker: The Browns had 17 sacks in 2008, a drop-off of 11 from the year before. They have to find a way to generate a pass rush from the left side. They do not have a starting left outside linebacker. They have the fifth pick in the draft and could use it on Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. If Curry is taken they could trade down or hold their breath until they pick fourth in the second round.

2. Strong safety: Right now, the Browns do not have a starting strong safety. Their starter since 2005, Sean Jones, is a free agent. So is his backup, Mike Adams. The Browns will have to find a partner for free safety Brodney Pool in the draft if they do not re-sign Jones or another hard-hitting safety before then.

3. Running back: Jamal Lewis' production dropped by more than 300 yards in 2008 and he played in one more game than in 2007, but Coach Eric Mangini seems convinced Lewis can still be the feature back, judging by his inactivity early in free agency. The Browns do not have to spend a high pick on a running back, nor do they have to break the bank in free agency, but they better start grooming a replacement for Lewis soon.

MEDICAL WATCH: Tight end Steve Heiden is continuing his rehab from ACL and MCL surgery. ... Defensive end Corey Williams is recovering from arthroscopic shoulder surgery. ... Running back Jamal Lewis is rehabbing from arthroscopic ankle surgery.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--CB Travis Daniels made one tackle in 2008 and will not be re-signed.

--TE Darnell Dinkins might be re-signed as a backup because Steve Heiden is recovering from major knee surgery and Martin Rucker is unproven.

--OL Lennie Friedman missed all of 2008 with a shoulder injury, lost weight during his recovery and is unlikely to be re-signed.

--LB Kris Griffin has a long injury history and won't be back.

--CB Daven Holly is worth re-signing if the price is right. He is coming off major knee surgery and doesn't have much bargaining leverage.

--S Sean Jones has to be a priority to re-sign. He would get more recognition if he did not play in the same division as Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu.

--LB Willie McGinest is expected to retire.

--OL Seth McKinney is valuable as a backup but will not be re-signed unless the Browns get him for a bargain.

--LB Shantee Orr made four tackles from scrimmage and six on special teams. He will not be back.

--RB Jason Wright carried the ball only 23 times in 2008. He won't be back.

--OL Scott Young is unlikely to be back.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered)

--DE Chase Pittman (not tendered as ERFA).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: Unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--S Mike Adams: UFA; $4M/3 yrs, guarantees unknown.

--WR Syndric Steptoe: ERFA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--TE Robert Royal: FA Bills; $10M/3 yrs, $3M guaranteed.

PLAYERS LOST

--CB Terry Cousin (released).

--LB Andra Davis: UFA Broncos; $5M/2 yrs, guarantees unknown.

--P Mike Dragosavich (released).

--QB Bruce Gradkowski (released).

--QB Ken Dorsey (released).

--LB Antwan Peek (released/failed physical).

--PK Jason Reda (released).

--TE Kellen Winslow (traded Buccaneers).

--OT Eric Young (failed physical).



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 6, 2009

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Ryan Pontbriand Name: Ryan Pontbriand
#64
Position: C
Age: 28
Experience: 6 years
College: Rice
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