Grading The Browns’ First Day of Free Agency

By: @Brad_Ward12

The Trade

The Browns traded for Brock Osweiler in a trade we would typically see in the NBA. Essentially, the Browns traded a 2017 4th round pick for a 2017 6th round pick and a 2018 2nd round pick, in return for taking on Osweiler’s contract as the Houston Texans intend to try and land one Tony Romo. Cleveland’s front office has made it clear that they intend to trade or release Osweiler. Many have speculated that the move was made in order to add another trade piece in their attempts to trade for their actual quarterback. Right now, the Browns would take on $16 million in cap space with Osweiler. It is very unlikely that the Browns are able to trade Osweiler and if they do they will have to take on part of that contract anyway. If the Browns had to choose between RGIII and Osweiler being on their roster as a potential back-up, I would rather have Osweiler. It’s a lot to pay for a back-up but remember the prize was the pick.

Terrelle Pryor

The one problem I have with this deal, which on the surface appears rather crafty and unheard of in the NFL, is that it makes me question why they are haggling with Terrelle Pryor. The Browns made a nice signing in Kenny Britt, who serves as some protection if Pryor does walk. However, why are the Browns willing to eat money to the tune of $16 million than give Pryor a couple extra million and lock him up?

It’s not just about the player’s production, it’s about the culture. Pryor was the hardest worker in the building and wants to be here. He was outspoken in saying he has bought in and wants to be part of this franchise’s turnaround. You can’t let that guy go, especially when you are gonna throw around cash for a second round pick later that day. Pryor is currently visiting with the Washington Redskins, who strangely just fired their GM, effective immediately, on day one of free agency. We will see what happens but I fear they are desperate enough to over pay for Pryor.

Offensive Line

The Browns successfully rebuilt their offensive line in one day which was quite refreshing after hearing people say they can’t get a quarterback with their offensive line the way it was for the last month.  The most inspiring thing of the day was how aggressively they attacked the problem. They made Kevin Zeitler the highest paid guard in the history of the game when he signed a $60 million/$31 million guaranteed, 5-year deal with the Brown and Orange. They also corrected the disaster that was Cam Erving by getting the best center on the market in JC Tretter to a 4-year deal at the perfect age of 26. Finally, they locked up Joel Bitonio for five more years, inking him to $47 million deal, $23 million of which is guaranteed.

Grading Day 1

The way that the Browns went out and got significantly better in an organized and thorough manner made it clear that they do have a plan. It was important for Browns fans to see and as a whole, the first day of fee agency was a win.

I am still very frustrated with the handling of Terrelle Pryor to this point as it becomes more and more clear that using the franchise tag would have been the best move. You would have been able to keep him and see him play and develop for anther year while making sure he is someone you want to invest in. I am already convinced but if the top men in Berea are not then they should have used the tag, considering they don’t care about eating some money for one year.

I think it is important to note that today’s successes did not require or prove anything in the way of player evaluation by the Browns front office. They took the best-rated player available at both offensive line positions and signed Britt to what exactly what they offered Pryor. I also thoroughly believe that Kenny Britt is not the player that Pryor is and not keeping talent that you developed, keeps you spinning your wheels at that position. Britt becomes a great piece if they can get Pryor back.

Finally, none of this matters until you get the quarterback.

Grade: B-

By: @Brad_Ward12

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