It’s time we’ve stepped away from the harsh reality of a frozen situation in Cleveland. On March 13th, free agency bidding will begin and some teams will strike gold in a time of need for an ailing franchise. Yet, the Browns have their eyes focused on different ideas; the need for skill positions has never been greater.
Besides the ongoing dilemma of whether or not to draft Blackmon at the four slot, Cleveland could be taking a glance at some notable unrestricted free agents at the wide-out position. With current Giants WR and Super Bowl hero, Mario Manningham, set to ultimately leave New York along with NFC East opponent and Dallas’ deep threat, Laurent Robinson, to also leave the Cowboys. These two seem as if they could be the most valuable and realistic front runners for a Browns roster spot.
News broke this week of Mike Wallace having thoughts of leaving the steel city of Pittsburgh, something of which could send a shake-up throughout the league. We know that Cleveland will not having a vying chance to obtain the talents of Wallace, Bowe, V. Jackson, or even Marques Colston. Desean Jackson (who I believe would love and needs a fresh start outside of Philly) will most definitely be franchised for the upcoming season.
The AFC North will also be losing Cincinnati’s starting back Cedric Benson (almost 100% positive), someone I could see fitting in and maybe even landing a spot in New England, possibly along with Mike Wallace (reports of SF or NE). Depending on where new OC Brad Childress would like to take the offense, the QB situation will be focused on the kind of depth the WR and RB systems acquire from here til’ August. Hillis’ situation is up in the air as of now and no reports have surfaced on what Cleveland and Hillis would like to do for the future. As I have said in previous columns, the departure of Hillis could result in Trent Richardson out of Alabama being taken at the four slot instead of a prime wide-out. The situation is still unknown for the No. 4 pick with so many various options, literally too many to analyze at this point of the offseason.
Tom Heckert and team president Holmgren have irrational decisions to make on the future of the team between the start of free agency and the NFL Draft in late April. The key to which way the QB’s fall into place this offseason lays in the hands of the return of Peyton Manning. The outcome of his decision on where to play (unless Indy keeps him) or whether not to play at all will decide the fate’s and outcomes of QB’s such as Robert Griffin III and FA quarterback Matt Flynn (Luck will go No. 1, obviously). Robert Griffin III has chosen not to throw at this week’s combine and has also chosen to move his pro day to not conflict with No. 1 prospect, Andrew Luck, out of Stanford.
If Manning ends up back in Indy (*sigh*), or to the Jets of New York, maybe Seattle, or even to Arizona considering they may have realized Kolb is not the answer, then Washington would most likely be trading up to the two slot to select Griffin. That leaves Cleveland with the option of Blackmon or Richardson along with Atlanta’s 1st rounder at pick No. 22 (Kendall Wright?). Miami is also another team who could trade up to take St. Louis’s selection if they don’t land Flynn in free agency. This also opens up Kolb in the trade discussion if they land Manning considering Skelton proved himself as solid backup or maybe even trade bait himself. Yet, if Manning finds a way to Washington and Flynn goes back to Philbin in Miami, St. Louis could be looking at Kalil or Blackmon (Minnesota will get one of them also). That leaves Griffin falling to Cleveland, making Heckert and Holmgren’s life a lot more difficult, due to the decision of whether to select Griffin himself or trade down to a willing candidate.
The ultimate pressure of building around McCoy or choosing a fresh start under center is something under great debate and much scrutiny. I don’t suspect Flynn to find himself a place in Cleveland anytime soon unless Cleveland opens up the bank (something very unlikely). I have expressed before and I will say it again, McCoy needs weapons to fully utilize his ability in the pocket, therefore the tremendous weight on pursuing a new QB should be something of much less significance.
Yet, the debate of Cleveland’s future may even be as pointless as last night’s final Republican GOP debate in Arizona (Santorum surge?). With so many possibilites and options to consider at various positions, not even a self-proclaimed expert could predict how the pieces will fall into place. All I and you can do is sit along for a tortuous offseason, but there is one thing worth counting on- change may be the greatest solution of all, especially to the most difficult equation.
(Because Seinfeld can fit in just about anywhere)
Maybe this all comes down to the black-and-white cookie:
“You see, Elaine, the key to eating a black and white cookie is that you wanna get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate. And yet still somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie, all our problems would be solved.” -Jerry Seinfeld
About the Author
Written by Corey Rioux
A wise man once told me, "Sports are modern-day mythology." I tend to disagree. Proper grammar is optional. You can read my columns here: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/author/c_rioux23/ You can follow me on twitter at: @CoreyRioux You can contact me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org