Inspired by this article from Bleacher Report, here are my thoughts on the Browns’ potential free agents. The complete list of free agents — the one I’ll be using — I got from ESPN.
Unrestricted free agents:
Miles Austin, WR — I think Cleveland will take a receiver or two in the draft, and it’s not clear that Austin has much left in the tank, even when healthy. Kick him to the curb.
Jordan Cameron, TE — I’ve already written on this, and my opinion hasn’t changed. Re-sign him.
Sione Fua, DE — The dude had six tackles this season. A season when, I might add, injuries practically gutted the defensive line. Kick him to the curb.
Brian Hoyer, QB — Here’s the thing: he’s going to want to start. He’s limited, but with the right team around him he can succeed. Even if he agreed to ride the pine, I think retaining Hoyer would just make things harder for Manziel or whichever QB starts next season. Kick him to the curb (but gently).
Marlon Moore, WR — Hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2013. Kick him to the curb.
Aytha Rubin, DE — This is one of the toughest calls in the list. He’s got all the talent in the world, but his production took a nose dive this season despite being healthy for most of it. Something tells me he’s going to want a pile of money and I’m not at all sure he’s worth it. Kick him to the curb.
Jabaal Sheard, OLB — A serious down year for Sheard, but unlike Rubin, I don’t think he’ll cost as much to re-sign, and his upside is higher. Plus, Cleveland isn’t overflowing with great linebackers (or even good linebackers). Re-sign him.
Buster Skrine, CB — See my post about Cameron. Arguably, he’s the most important person to re-sign because unlike Cameron, he was healthy. Re-sign him. Do it. Do it now!
Ryan Taylor, TE — He doesn’t even have a profile on ESPN. Kick him to the curb, perhaps beyond it.
Tyler Thigpen, QB — I am 100% ambivalent about him. He neither adds nor detracts from the present QB pool. He’d open the season as third on the depth chart, since Connor Shaw is almost certainly the backup if we don’t re-sign Hoyer. Leave him on the curb. If he gets kicked, it’s his own fault.
Restricted free agents:
Johnson Bademosi, Safety — He plays on special teams. If defensive back-pocalypse happens next season, we’ll probably need all of them we can get. Not sure what the qualifying offer is for a player of his caliber, but it’s probably not very high. Re-sign him, but only for one year.
Shaun Draughn, RB — Meh. Kick him to the curb.
Tashaun Gibson, Free safety — Point: Interception luck is not a repeatable skill. Counterpoint: He was better than last season, but in fewer games. Long term re-signing.
Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, DT — He’s undersized for a DT, but at end, he has some potential as top grade depth if nothing else. Re-sign him.
Craig Robertson, ILB — We apparently have some form of 3-4, unless we don’t. (I’m not clear about that.) In any case, Robertson showed a hell of lot to me in the few games I saw him, and again, we aren’t deep at linebacker. Long term re-signing.
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