Browns President Mike Holmgren and General Manager Tom Heckert answered questions from season-ticket holders during a conference call this afternoon that lasted nearly an hour. Here are some of the highlights:
Holmgren confirmed the Browns tried to trade up for the second overall pick in this year’s draft and presented the St. Louis Rams with “every bit the offer that was chosen.”
The Rams traded the No. 2 pick to the Washington Redskins in exchange for three first-round picks and a second-round selection. The Redskins are expected draft Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Holmgren said he believes the relationship between the Rams and Redskins was a deciding factor. Rams coach Jeff Fisher and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan are friends.
“Yes, we were involved in that,” Holmgren said. “Quite honestly, all of the stories that I have seen were incorrect in what our offer was, when we entered the process and how we went about it. I will just tell you that. I’m not gonna tell you exactly what we offered. But our deal, I will say what we offered for the pick was every bit the offer that was chosen. But honestly, when it didn’t happen, I think there are reasons that I can’t go into right now why it didn’t happen. But there’s a very close relationship between the people that are involved in getting the deal done and the people eventually that got it done. I’m not sure if any offer we made at the end of the day was gonna be quite good enough.”
Holmgren indicated the Browns’ backup plan might be to use their two first-round picks, Nos. 4 and 22, to surround quarterback Colt McCoy with weapons.
“In that particular deal we were very, very aggressive and it didn’t work," Holmgren said. "So then you have to ask yourself the question, ‘OK, now what happens?’ Do you take your ball and go home? No, you go to the next step. The next step is the draft pick that we were going to use to move up there, now we have again. So the other plan we had talked about was to use those picks to make our football team better immediately this year, get starters with those draft picks at other positions this year and to help our quarterbacks who are now existing on the team -- or anybody else who would come onto the team -- better because we’ve surrounded that (quarterback) position with better players.”
More on McCoy
A season-ticket holder asked Heckert if McCoy has the ability to become a franchise quarterback.
“We do think Colt has a big ceiling," Heckert said. "Obviously it’s my job to get him better players surrounding him.”
Holmgren complimented McCoy throughout the conference call. He said he's not ready to give up on McCoy or Seneca Wallace, who served as McCoy's backup last season.
"I think it's a little bit unfair to write those guys off right now," Holmgren said, "and I'm not willing to do that."
Holmgren said he would "kind of discourage" Heckert from trading down this year from the No. 4 pick. Last year, Heckert traded down from No. 6 to No. 27, then back up to No. 21, so he could draft defensive tackle Phil Taylor.
Holmgren was asked about running back Peyton Hillis leaving the Browns as an unrestricted free agent and signing with the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday.
"There comes a time in some players' lives and clubs' lives where a fresh start is probably the best thing for both sides," Holmgren said.
Pretty quiet so far
A fan questioned Heckert about the Browns' lack of activity in free agency, which started at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Browns have struck deal with two players from other teams since free agency began: former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Frostee Rucker and former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Juqua Parker.
"Free agency’s not over yet," Heckert said. "We hope to add at least another player here somewhere down the line."
Holmgren said the Browns like guards Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao, but conceded the team needs a right tackle after cutting Tony Pashos earlier this week. Holmgren said the Browns are "looking hard at the draft and using some our picks to take offensive linemen." ... The Browns' re-signing of cornerback Dimitri Patterson was reported earlier today, but Heckert confirmed it. ... Heckert said he has tried this year to worked out a long-term deal with kicker Phil Dawson this year and hopes to get one done so Dawson can retire as a member of the team. The Browns franchised Dawson for the second year in a row.