I was going to hold off on this until things were more solidified, but since nobody’s posted in a few days, I’ll hit the high points now.
– Karlos Dansby: Look, I love D’Qwell Jackson as a football player. He’s a hell of a tackler, great leader, and I wish him success in Indianapolis (unless he plays the Browns). What he isn’t is a playmaker. He’s decent in coverage and not overly fast. There are also some scheme concerns, apparently. Dansby will cost more, but I like this move a lot.
– Donte Whitner: I’ll admit I don’t know much about him. I know he used to play for OSU, and is generally considered a ball-hawking ass-kicking safety. Yet, I don’t know if he’s that a big an upgrade over T. J. Ward, who I always liked, especially for more money. Maybe Kevin can fill us in here.
– Ben Tate: I LOVE this deal. Low risk for a potentially great running back who wanted to come to Cleveland. Fills a need, too.
– Andrew Hawkins: Another great move, also very low risk, since it didn’t cost a draft pick. He’s really fast, but apparently isn’t made of glass like Travis Benjamin. The idea is to make Benjamin a punt returner full time, I’ve heard, and I can get behind that. If we’d lost a second round pick (which we could have, if they’d put a different tender on him), I would have been angry, but this one I can live with.
– Jim Dray: A blocking TE. Yeah, even I can’t get that excited about that.
– Isaiah Trufant: CB depth was an area of extreme need for the Browns; I like it. I don’t think he’s a true #2 CB, but maybe we’ll get one in the draft.
– Davone Bess: Good riddance.
– Shawn Lauvao: Leaves an even bigger hole at guard then we already had. He got a huge chunk of cash from Washington, and we’ll definitely draft a G or two, but I’m a little uneasy about losing him.
– Oniel Cousins: He’s a two way player, in that he sucks at both tackle and guard about equally. Meh.
– Willis McGahee: The party has been over for a long time. He’s pretty much the Bus at this point, but with a much worse injury history.
– Jason Campbell/Brandon Weeden: I get why they cut them, and I’ve long since gotten over my infatuation with Weeden. I don’t like cutting them both, however. The cap hit wasn’t that big a deal, and we could have cut them later.
– Brian Tyms: He apparently played at WR. Now you know as much as I do!
The elephant in the room
– Alex Mack: Is Alex Mack the best center in the NFL? I don’t honestly know, but he’s certainly top three. The transition tag was a gutsy move (and Mack still hasn’t signed it). I just have a nasty suspicion it’ll bite us on the ass, either with some kind of poison pill (the Browns can match any offer, and if they do, Mack has to take it), or Mack will sign the one year deal and leave us next year. Right now, we essentially have no interior line. Even with Mack, we have no guards, but I’d feel a lot better if we made more of an effort to keep him.
I really want Teddy Bridgewater at #4. It’s not out of the realm of possibility he could fall to us. Clowney is a rare talent, as is Sammy Watkins, of course, and I’d be okay with them at #4 too. Failing those three choices, Bortles or Manziel would be a nice consolation prize. I know Cleveland desperately needs a great QB. But if Bridgewater isn’t there… I just don’t know that I like Manziel or Bortles enough to justify the pick.
The second first rounder almost has to be a G, C (if Mack leaves), or maybe Derek Carr, if we don’t take a QB with #4. If Manziel or Bortles fell that far, I’d do a dance of joy, but it’s really unlikely.
Other than that, another ILB or two would be nice to have, more OL, and a #2 DB are on my wish list.