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News » GM looking at 'every option'

GM looking at 'every option'

GM looking at 'every option'

The only thing the Browns and New York Giants traded Thursday were non-answers.

Coincidentally, the two teams linked by trade rumors involving Braylon Edwards conducted their final pre-draft news briefings at about the same time.

Not coincidentally, each team's general manager was asked about the rumors in the very first question.

"I'm not talking about Braylon," Giants General Manager Jerry Reese said to assembled media in New York. "That's somebody else's player. He's under contract, so I'm not talking about that. There's a lot of chatter. A lot of false reports."

Approximately one-half hour later, Browns GM George Kokinis said in opening remarks, "You're going to hear me use the phrase 'internal business' a lot."

When the first question concerned rumors about Edwards and also quarterback Brady Quinn, Kokinis shot back, "You went right to the ticket."

"I'm going to say it again, it's internal business," he continued. "All options, every year, every team looks at every option. So that's internal business, and we're just going to move forward and focus on this draft."

Kokinis and Reese talked about an Edwards trade at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February, Kokinis has confirmed.

At the time, the deal had the Giants sending second- and fifth-round picks, plus a choice of receiver Domenik Hixon or Mario Manningham for Edwards. Reportedly, the deal died when Kokinis insisted on receiver Steve Smith with the draft choices.

Two things have changed since then. The Giants were awarded a compensatory draft pick in the third round - giving them a haul of five picks in the first three rounds. And most significantly, the Giants released star receiver Plaxico Burress.

Those occurrences led the teams to resume trade talks recently. The widespread belief was that a trade - now including the Giants' first-round pick, 29th overall - was imminent.

But the Giants received some leverage in talks Wednesday when the Arizona Cardinals for the first time publicly admitted they would listen to trade offers for disgruntled receiver Anquan Boldin. The Cardinals' reported asking price: First- and third-round draft picks.

In New York, Reese said he would not force a trade for a veteran replacement for Burress.

"For the right player, you do whatever you can to make it happen," Reese said. "But we'll do what's best for the Giants, and I don't know if that's the best thing for us to do - to package up a deal that valuable. We like our draft picks. We like developing our players."

Meanwhile, Kokinis was most forthcoming when talking about Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech, the No. 1-rated receiver in the draft. The Browns hosted a visit by Crabtree this week, and Kokinis came away unconcerned about the player's health after foot surgery April 2.

"There's a comfort level with Michael," Kokinis said. "He had the surgery. We got the information from the doctor. We feel good about where he is."

On other issues:

Kokinis declined to say whether the Browns tried to acquire former Denver quarterback Jay Cutler.

"Did we try to acquire Jay Cutler?" Kokinis said. "Jay Cutler went to the Bears, and he's a member of the Bears. When those rumors came out, just like any option, you read about it, discuss it internally, and move forward."

Kokinis said that Quinn doesn't appear to be affected by trade rumors.

"I've seen Brady. I haven't seen him change his work ethic. He's been upstairs working with Brian [Daboll, offensive coordinator] every day. He's always got a smile on his face. He's learning the offense every day."

Quarterback Derek Anderson's left knee, in which he suffered a ligament sprain in the 12th game last year, "is 100 percent," but Kokinis repeatedly declined to say whether Anderson needed surgery in the off-season.

"He's been working out," Kokinis said. "I think Derek's going to come in determined and compete. We'll have him here in minicamps and get him going."

Kokinis said the team is prepared to use the No. 5 overall pick, but "If the phone rings [for a trade], we're going to pick it up."

The GM would not give an opinion on whom he considers the best player in the draft and declined to name the team's most pressing needs heading into the draft.

"I don't think there's a pressing need," he said. "When you go into a draft, you try to improve the whole team. I think there's need all over the Football team. The purpose of the draft is to build depth, build competition."

On running back Jamal Lewis, who had off-season surgery to "clean up" an ankle, Kokinis said, "One thing about Jamal is when you count him out he runs you over. That's what I do know about Jamal. If there's a back available that we like, we're going to grab him. [But] I think he's still got tread there. You can't count that man out."

He thinks Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo has shown he can make the conversion to outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment. He also believes that Southern Cal linebacker Ray Maualuga's forte "is smashing up into the guard," but "I don't see any reason why he couldn't play four downs, to be honest with you."

While Kokinis reiterated the company line that everyone's looking forward to an open competition between Anderson and Quinn, he would not rule out taking a quarterback in the draft.

"There is some philosophy that you should take a quarterback in every draft," he said. "If there's one available we like, I'm not opposed to taking it."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: tgrossi@plaind.com, 216-999-4670

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 18, 2009

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