The Newark Star-Ledger reported that free agent safety James Butler was expected to fly to Cleveland Saturday after a visit with the St. Louis Rams.
Butler's agent, Carl Poston, told the Star-Ledger that he and the Rams were ''still a bit apart'' in negotiations for the four-year veteran who made the New York Giants' roster as an undrafted rookie from Georgia Tech in 2005. Poston told the newspaper that the Browns were next on Butler's radar and they had tentative plans to fly to Cleveland if a deal with the Rams could not be finalized.To read more or comment...
That is the hot rumor right now, which was started after Coles asked for an received his release from the New York Jets on Wednesday.
Tony Grossi of the Plain Dealer ponders the Coles to Cleveland question here.
The logical landing place for the nine-year veteran is Miami, where he would be reunited with close friend and Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington. The Dolphins need a receiver, so that is a possibility.
Cleveland is an option because Coles and new Browns coach Eric Mangini bonded when Coles' contract demands were not met by the team.
Last season, Coles had 70 receptions for 850 yards and seven touchdowns. By comparison, Browns leading receiver Braylon Edwards had 55 receptions for 873 yards last season and Kellen Winslow had 43. Of note, 43 of Coles' receptions were for first downs, so he could be a dependable second receiver.
The problem is that Coles is 31 and wanted a long-term deal before last season. He won't be cheap and the Browns are already paying a lot of money to Donte Stallworth. The team also has bigger needs at other positions.
Free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
Notes... Vic Carucci of NFL.com broke down the AFC noting team needs and top free agents. Here's what he said about the Browns' needs:
With free agency set to begin on Friday, here is a quick look at the team's free agents:
Mike Adams, Safety 2009 season starting age: 28 2008 stats: Played in 14 games, starting five. 44 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 passes defended Cap value: $658,600 Notes and prediction: Adams is a dependable backup defensive back who has seen spot start duty and can play both free safety and cornerback. Should re-sign.
Travis Daniels, Cornerback 2009 season starting age: 26 2008 stats: Played in seven games, starting one. 5 tackles, 0 interceptions, 0 passes defended Cap value: $927,000 Notes and prediction: The Browns traded their seventh-round pick to the Dolphins to acquire Daniels, who play sparingly. Has played cornerback and safety. Should re-sign.
Andra Davis, Linebacker 2009 season starting age: 30 2008 stats: Played and started in 16 games. 90 tackles, 0 sacks, 1 interception, 3 passes defended. Cap value: $3,600,000 Notes and prediction: In his career, Davis has led the Browns in tackles three times. However, he doesn't appear to be a great fit in the 3-4 defense. Should not re-sign.
Darnell Dinkins, Tight end 2009 season starting age: 32 2008 stats: Played in 14 games, starting two. 5 receptions for 41 yards, 1 touchdown Cap value: $661,688 Notes and prediction: Dinkins has been a good third tight end, playing a lot on special teams. He's not much of a pass catcher, however. Should re-sign.
Lennie Friedman, Guard 2009 season starting age: 32 2008 stats: Played in 16 games 2008 cap value: $488,960 Notes and prediction: Friedman is only a special teams player who rarely sees the field on offense. Should not re-sign.
Kris Griffin, Linebacker 2009 season starting age: 28 2008 stats: Played in 10 games. 7 tackles, 0 sacks, 0 interceptions, 0 passes defended Cap value: $704,800 Notes and prediction: D'Qwell Jackson's backup rarely sees the field and doesn't make a lot of plays on special teams. Should not re-sign.
Daven Holly, Cornerback 2009 season starting age: 27 2007 stats: Played in 15 games, starting 6. 48 tackles, 0 interceptions, 8 passes defended. 2008 cap value: $1,423,360 Notes and prediction: Holly missed the entire 2008 season after tearing two ligaments in his knee. He is solid, but unspectacular, when he does see the field. Should re-sign.
Sean Jones, Safety 2009 season starting age: 27 2008 stats: Played and started 12 games. 56 tackles, 4 interceptions, 4 passes defended. 2008 cap value: $ 2,415,720 Notes and prediction: The Browns' top free agent, Jones was hurt most of the season and didn't look like the player he was in 2007 where he had 96 tackles and five interceptions. However, he wants top dollar. Should re-sign.
Willie McGinest, Linebacker 2009 season starting age: 37 2008 stats: Played and started 14 games. 56 tackles, 1 sack, 2 passes defended 2008 cap value: $3,666,668 Notes and prediction: Clearly a step slower than when he was in his prime in New England. Many think he played in 2008 because of his friendship with former head coach Romeo Crennel. Should retire.
Seth McKinney, Guard 2009 season starting age: 30 2008 stats: Played in 16 games, starting 3 2008 cap value: $490,640 Notes and prediction: McKinney is listed as the direct backup to center Hank Fraley. He's also played guard and is dependable in spot duty. Should re-sign.
Shantee Orr, Linebacker 2009 season starting age: 28 2008 stats: Played in 15 games. 10 tackles, 0 sacks, 0 passes defended 2008 cap value: $445,000 Notes and prediction: Orr was often overshadowed by rookie linebacker Alex Hall. He was initially cut by the team in August but brought back. Should not re-sign.
Jason Wright, Running back 2009 season starting age: 27 2008 stats: 15 games played. 23 rushing attempts for 85 yards, 0 touchdowns. 22 receptions for 156 yards, 1 touchdown. 2008 cap value: $945,500 Notes and prediction: An above-average receiver for a running back, but little else. Should not re-sign.
Scott Young, Offensive tackle 2009 season starting age: 28 2008 stats: Played in one game 2008 cap value: $520,000 Notes and prediction: Rarely saw the field. Should not re-sign.
Charles Ali (fullback), Brad Cieslak (tight end), Louis Leonard (defensive lineman), Chase Pittman (defensive end) and Syndric Steptoe (wide receiver) are all exclusive rights free agents. That means they have less than two years of service in the NFL and can only sign with the Browns. If they do not sign a contract the Browns tender, the player has to sit out the season.
Ali and Steptoe saw the most time last season for the Browns.
Information on player salaries was found here.
The Browns have already released linebacker Antwan Peek, quarterback Ken Dorsey and defensive back Terry Cousin had their contracts terminated, while quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, punter Mike Dragosavich, kicker Jason Reda and offensive lineman Eric Young were waived.
Ohio State linebacker Marcus Freeman had a big workout day at the NFL
Scouting Combine Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Freeman ran the 40-yard dash in 4.74 seconds, tying for seventh among
linebackers. He tied for first in the vertical jump (37 inches) and was tops in
the 20-yard shuttle (4.12). The bench press results from Sunday were altered
and Freeman's 30 reps of 225 pounds tied for first. He tied for fourth in the
3-cone drill (6.98).
OSU linebacker James Laurinaitis posted unofficial 40 times of 4.80 and
4.81. He was third at his position in the 3-cone (6.93) and
sixth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.24).
The top linebacker performer was probably Aaron Curry of Wake Forest.
Projected as a top five pick, Curry turned in the best marks in the 40 (4.56),
broad jump (10-4) and 60-yard shuttle (11.35) and tied for first in the
vertical jump (37 inches).
To read more or comment...
4:30 UPDATE: According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, Rogers' agent has met with the Browns. He wouldn't reveal much, but said "there are no financial or contract concerns on our behalf."
Following a Pro Bowl 2008 season, defensive tackle Shaun Rogers reportedly wants out.
That is according to a Tuesday night report from Adam Schefter of the NFL Network. Schefter reports that Rogers despises new head coach Eric Mangini so much that he told the organization not to pay him a $6 million roster bonus due next month and to release him.
Should the Browns release Rogers, it would cause a $9.7 million hit against the team's salary cap. But according to Schefter's source, the Browns have no intention of releasing Rogers.
Rogers is reportedly upset after Mangini failed to acknowledge him during two offseason functions.
The source told Schefter that Mangini remains optimistic that he can change Rogers' mind. Mangini had to deal with a similar situation when he was coach of the New York Jets. Wide receiver Laveranues Coles was a initially skeptical of Mangini, but the two eventually bonded.
The Browns traded a third-round pick and cornerback Leigh Bodden to the Detroit Lions to acquire Rogers prior to the 2008 season. Rogers finished the year with 76 tackles and 4.5 sacks, which secured him his third Pro Bowl invitation.
In 2006, Rogers was suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
(photo by Phil Masturzo / Akron Beacon Journal)
Coach Eric Mangini might have crossed the line of the NFL's tampering rules when he said Friday the Browns were interested in New York Giants running back Derrick Ward. Free agency doesn't begin until Feb. 27, so technically Ward is still the Giants' property. ''He's a guy that we’d look at. I can tell you, we’re looking at all the free agents,'' Mangini said. ...
Mangini mentioned that receiver/special teams ace Joshua Cribbs might be tried on defense. ...To read more or comment...
We asked, and you told us. More than 1,100 of you voted on whether or not Browns quarterback Derek Anderson will be with the team for the 2009 football season.
A resounding 82 percent of you said he would not.
In 2008, Anderson threw for 1,615 yards with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. That came following a season in which Anderson threw for 29 touchdowns and almost 3,000 yards on his way to the Pro Bowl.
So, following a season of resounding disappointment, let's assume the Browns trade Anderson in favor of Brady Quinn. What exactly could Anderson bring the team in a trade?
At one point in the season, Peter King of Sports Illustrated said the Browns could get a second round pick.
One reader, "jusayin," thinks the Browns could get much more.
"A reasonable exchange for DA," he wrote, "would be to Tampa for a two, three and Brian Griese, the type of limited-arm vet QB who should make an excellent mentor and backup for Brady Quinn."
That wouldn't be bad, but it's unlikely the Browns could get that much.
Tony Grossi of the Plain Dealer practically wrote off Anderson's trade value. He thinks the Browns would also have to eat a lot of Anderson's $5 million roster bonus due in March.
If new general manager George Kokinis gets the feeling that will increase Anderson's trade value, expect owner Randy Lerner to open the checkbook. Anderson then could be held onto until the draft where the Browns could set his value against where the top three quarterbacks, Matt Stafford, Josh Freeman and Mark Sanchez, are falling in the draft. That would also mean the Browns will have to pay Anderson's entire roster bonus.
But who could be the teams in play for Anderson?
The Vikings could be a choice, but many expect them to go after the recently released Jeff Garcia. Conversely, with the Buccaneers releasing Garcia, they could be a player for Anderson's services. The Jets seem to be after a veteran quarterback. San Francisco could theoretically need one with Shaun Hill just being average. Kansas City is also somewhat up in the air at quarterback. New coach Todd Haley uses the vertical passing game a lot, which fits Anderson perfectly.
So, for now, we're still left with plenty of questions. Help us find the answers. In the comments, tell us who you think will trade for Anderson and what the Browns could get for him.
Notes... The Browns hired two more assistant coaches today. Steve Hagen is back with the Browns to coach tight ends. He held the same position with the team from 2001 to '03 and was quarterbacks coach in 2004. Hagen was on Butch Davis' coaching staff at the University of North Carolina.
The team also hired Gary Brown as its running backs coach. Brown, an eight-year NFL running back, held the same position with Rutgers University in 2008.
Browns coach Eric Mangini has hired former NFL running back Gary Brown to handle his old position and ex-Butch Davis assistant Steve Hagen to direct tight ends.
An eighth-round draft pick of Houston in 1991, Brown played eight seasons for the Oilers, San Diego Chargers and New York Giants and recorded two 1,000-yard seasons. He spent last year at Rutgers. The Penn State product has also worked at Williamsport Area (Pa.) High School and Lycoming College.To read more or comment...
Browns coach Eric Mangini has hired the University of Minnesota's George McDonald as offensive quality control coach, the team announced Wednesday.
McDonald, 32, spent the past two seasons as receivers coach for the Golden Gophers and tutored standouts Eric Decker and Ernie Wheelwright. As offensive coordinator at Western Michigan in 2005-06, he worked with receiver Greg Jennings, a Biletnikoff semifinalist now with the Green Bay Packers.To read more or comment...
To read more or comment...
Eric Mangini Q & A:¶ On the importance of bringing in players who are good people:¶ ¶ ¶¶
On the status of building his staff: ``I can tell you that since we've
last met, I've hired George Warhop for our offensive line position and retained
Tom Myslinski as our strength coach. Alan DeGennaro will continue to work with
the strength staff as well.’’¶
On Pro Bowl defensive tackle Shaun Rogers and not talking with him at
last month's Cleveland Sports Awards ceremony:¶
``I didn't really realize at the time that Shaun was there,’’ Mangini said.
``I know that's probably hard to believe with how big he is and how big I am, it's like two destroyers missing each other. … I've really enjoyed watching him
on tape. I always appreciate a 360-pound nose guard that's powerful and
disruptive and has a high motor.’’¶
On the Browns Hall of Fame mural that was recently removed from a wall
in Berea: ``When I got here, that was something that we had, a tribute area that
organizationally we were discussing moving to the front of the building. We had
a lot of different ideas in terms of how we are going to present that, but I
thought that would be better in a more prominent place with a higher traffic
area where anybody who comes to the building can appreciate that. … I believe in
the importance of the history of this organization and the men that have made
this team great. I think that tribute would be better out front where everybody
can have a chance to enjoy it.’’¶
``I don't want to watch the player on tape until I know about the player
as a person. What's he going to be like in the locker room? Who's he going to
affect? That stuff is extremely important. I've seen it over and over again how important it is in a locker room when things are going well and when things
are going poorly. Those things win games.’’¶
On the 15 people who were recently laid off while ``redecorating’’ the
``It's not like we're just throwing up some new drapes. … I understand the
difficult times we're in and I appreciate those things. I never would treat
that with anything but absolute seriousness. The changes that we do make are
made with the intent of helping us improve as a team and as an organization,
that is the only objective or motive.’’¶
On meeting Tuesday with former coach Romeo Crennel:¶
``Romeo and I talked yesterday and went out to dinner. That friendship,
that relationship hasn't changed. He's got a lot of great insight. But one of
the great things about Romeo is he wants me to be as objective as possible. We
definitely talked about a lot of different issues and he was as helpful as he
On the status of veteran quarterback Derek Anderson: ``It's still tough
to say just because a lot of things to look at in terms of this season. I like
to look back at previous seasons as well. … I also want to spend time with him
and learn more about him.’’
Can you see a situation where you'd keep both QB's?: ``I don't really have it defined which way I have to go. I'm open to all different possibilities.’’¶
On the status of young quarterback Brady Quinn: ``It's the same thing
that we talked about with Derek. It's ongoing in terms of getting to know him
better and watching him work. … It wouldn't be a fair assessment and not
something at this point you can define, with the quarterback position,
especially. It's how they work, how they lead, (their) huddle presence, the
system they're in, their mechanics, the way that they improve in areas and how
quickly that takes place.’’¶
On running a 3-4 defense: ``You're always looking to be able to stop the
run. I think that's where it usually starts. Then, you're looking to not give
up big plays. … The real strength in my mind of the 3-4 defense is its
flexibility. Your ability to create whatever front you want to create based on
moving one or two pieces.’’
On the status of veteran linebacker Willie McGinest: ``I haven't talked
to Willie. He sent me a text and we talked a little bit through that medium.
But I gotta see where he's at. Anytime a player has played as long as Willie
and has done as much as Willie, it takes some time for them to figure out where
they want to go and what they want to do.’’¶
On the rivalry with the Steelers: ``What I definitely appreciate is the
rivalry and I appreciate the tradition and I appreciate the excitement behind
those games. I was here before, I remember that. I get that and we love that
aspect of it. … But you're always trying to balance that with the fact that you
don't want to create so much mystique with the opponent that you go into the
game with a competitive disadvantage. … They are the best in the NFL right now,
they were the best in the division.’’¶
On the kind of offense he envisions: ``We started with a system that
looked very similar to what was here last year, more the digit system in that
family tree. I like a lot of elements of that offense, I like the multiple
personnel groups, the shifting, the motion, the no-huddle, the problems that
you can create formation-wise with that.’’¶
On the passion of Browns fans: ``The passion will be here, the passion
is built in. It's never an issue.’’
Eric Mangini Q & A:¶
On the importance of bringing in players who are good people:¶