The NFL has set the 2014 salary cap at $133 million, an increase of about $10 million from last year, the NFL Players Association announced this evening.
The Browns have about $56.9 million in cap space, according to OverTheCap.com, so new General Manager Ray Farmer will be armed with plenty of flexibility when free agency begins March 11. Only the Oakland Raiders, with about $66.5 million, have more cap room, according to the website.
Below are some other Browns-related items involving the cap.
*With the cap set, the cost of franchise tags has been established, so the Browns know exactly how much it would take to lock down one of their notable potential free agents, Pro Bowl center Alex Mack or Pro Bowl strong safety T.J. Ward, to a one-year contract. For Mack, it would cost $11.6 million. For Ward, it would cost, $8.4 million.To read more or comment...
The Browns released starting inside linebacker and defensive captain D'Qwell Jackson today, the team announced.
Although Jackson was the undisputed leader of the team, the move is not surprising because he would have carried a $9.43 million salary-cap figure next season, which included a $4 million roster bonus due March 16 and a $100,000 workout bonus.
In December, Jackson discussed his contract situation with reporters and said he would be “absolutely” shocked if he didn't return to the Browns next season. Jackson, 30, said he would be open to restructuring his deal. The Browns tried to restructure the contract, but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement and decided to part ways.
“We had positive discussion with D’Qwell and his agent over the last several days, and we came to the mutual agreement to go in different directions," new Browns General Manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. "D’Qwell is the epitome of class, leadership and professionalism. Every day of his NFL career, D’Qwell has been a solid representative of the Browns and the City of Cleveland, both between the lines on Sundays and off the field in our area community. We want to thank him for his eight years of service and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”To read more or comment...
The story about the Browns trying to trade for San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh won’t die, at least not anytime soon.
ProFootballTalk.com first reported Friday a deal that would have sent multiple draft picks to the 49ers was in place between the teams, but Harbaugh ultimately decided not to leave San Francisco.
The latest wrinkle surfaced today when 49ers owner Jed York confirmed for the Sacramento Bee that the Browns pursued Harbaugh before they hired Mike Pettine as their new coach days later on Jan. 23.
How far did the conversation get?To read more or comment...
Kent State running back and wide receiver Dri Archer fell just .03 seconds short of fulfilling his prophecy today at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Last week, Archer predicted he would break the combine record of 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash set by Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson in 2008. Archer didn’t set a new record with his official time of 4.26 seconds, but he made Johnson sweat.
“Can't lie,” Johnson wrote today on Twitter. “Archer had the [boy] nervous.”
Archer said he posted a personal-best time of 4.21 seconds in the spring of 2012 indoors and on turf at Kent State. That gave him faith that he could make jaws drop during the combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.To read more or comment...
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater addressed the media today at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Bridgewater is a candidate to be chosen fourth overall by the Browns. Below is a transcript from the news conference.
How has Coach Charlie Strong aided your development: “Coach Strong, he played a huge role in just me becoming a pure pocket passer and just a pure quarterback. When I first arrived at the University of Louisville, I wasn’t starting. I was second on the depth chart. I told Coach Strong, ‘Hey, I want to play wide receiver just so I can get on the field.’ He told me, ‘No, hey, I recruited you as a quarterback. You’re going to play quarterback.’ That right there, it just meant a lot to me knowing that he didn’t just take the easy way out and satisfy me. It played a huge role in my success just from a pure pocket quarterback standpoint.”
Do you believe you’re the best quarterback in the draft and the Texans should draft you No. 1 overall: “Yes, no doubt. I feel that I’m the best quarterback in this draft. I’m not just going to sit up here and say it. There’s obviously actions that have to back up these words, and I’m just confident in myself and my capability to be able to play this position. I’m just going to go out there and prove that I’m the best guy.”
What do you think it is that separates you from the other quarterbacks in this class: “The biggest thing I think is my accuracy. This past season, I was able to complete 71 percent of my passes. My third-down passing completion percentage was pretty much off the charts, my pocket presence, I’m a competitor. Each day I go out there and I’m eager to learn, remain a student of the game, and I think that right there just separates me.”To read more or comment...
New Browns coach Mike Pettine insists he doesn’t give a bleep about ProFootballTalk.com’s report that the organization tried to trade for San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh before it hired Pettine on Jan. 23.
Pettine was alerted the report would surface Friday night, and he made his feelings about it known in an entertaining fashion this morning at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
“When I got the phone call, I did a little bit of shoot the messenger,” Pettine said. “I said, ‘How does this affect my tenure as the Cleveland Browns head coach? Has that changed?’ The obvious answer was ‘no.’
“I think my next sentence, I either used the word ‘flying’ followed by something, or referenced a part of a rat’s body. I think that’s noise. That’s something that has no bearing on my job moving forward.To read more or comment...
Anyone who watched running back Trent Richardson struggle throughout his second NFL season knows the Browns appear to have overwhelmingly won the blockbuster trade former CEO Joe Banner made with the Indianapolis Colts last September.
So would Colts GM Ryan Grigson trade a 2014 first-round pick, which became the 26th overall selection, to the Browns in exchange for Richardson again?
“Yes,” Grigson said today at the NFL Scouting Combine without further explanation.
Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in 14 games with the Colts.To read more or comment...
The Browns aren’t denying an eye-opening report from ProFootballTalk.com that says the organization nearly pulled off a trade with the San Francisco 49ers for the rights to coach Jim Harbaugh before it hired coach Mike Pettine on Jan. 23 following a 25-day search.
In response to the report that was published this evening, Browns spokesman Zak Gilbert issued the following statement: “The team conducted an extensive coaching search, and explored several options. That search produced an outstanding head coach in Mike Pettine and we're excited about his future with the club.”
On the other hand, 49ers owner Jed York issued a denial via Twitter. "Report isn't true," he wrote on his official account in response to a tweet from ProFootballTalk.com.
A 49ers spokesman did not immediately respond to an e-mail from the Beacon Journal. An unnamed 49ers source told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the report is “completely false. Ridiculous.”To read more or comment...
Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said he had an informal meeting with the Browns and expected to have a formal interview with them at the NFL Scouting Combine.
At Athletes’ Performance Institute in Los Angeles, Garoppolo spent three days over two weeks working with former Browns quarterback Ty Detmer as they try to improve his footwork and mechanics of his quick release.
“He broke down the game for me. He taught me things that I really had no clue about the game until he explained it,” Garoppolo said today. “Then you’re like, ‘Oh, why didn’t I think about that a long time ago?’ Just how the fronts and linebackers tie into the coverages, how different offensive formations dictate coverages. He worked with me in the pocket, getting me used to the 3-5 and seven-step drop. He’s done a great job with me, really.”To read more or comment...
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch said the Browns were one of 10 teams he’d met with at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“Cleveland seems to be a team looking for quarterbacks,” Lynch said today. “It would be a great chance to play for them.”
Lynch, 6-foot and 217 pounds, went 24-4 as the Huskies’ starter, beating three BCS schools. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, highest by a Mid-American Conference player, besting Randy Moss (fourth in 1997).
It has been suggested that Lynch might have to switch positions in the NFL, but Lynch doesn’t believe that.To read more or comment...
St. Louis Rams General Manager Les Snead believes Browns owner Jimmy Haslam hit a home run by promoting Ray Farmer to GM last week in the wake of firing Mike Lombardi.
“I definitely do [think he’ll succeed],” Snead said today at the NFL Scouting Combine. “You’ve got to project, our job is to project. So I’m projecting. I would invest in Ray Farmer.”
Snead bet on Farmer in 2002. At the time, Snead oversaw the Atlanta Falcons’ pro scouting operations, and he hired Farmer as a pro scout. It was Farmer's first job in an NFL personnel department.
Snead said he was impressed with Farmer because of his experience as a former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker, his passion for the game and his intelligence.To read more or comment...
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano couldn’t resist the chance to add a “great resource” in former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, especially since their personal and professional ties date back to 1986.
Fired on Dec. 29, Chudzinski was hired by the Colts on Feb. 8 as special assistant to the head coach.
“He’ll be heavily involved with a lot of the things I do on a daily basis,” Pagano explained today at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. “He’ll be a great resource for me, for our entire coaching staff, not only our offensive staff, defensive staff, special teams, game day management.
"He’s a brilliant guy, a really bright guy, a very smart guy and a really good football coach. He’s well-versed in a lot of different areas.”To read more or comment...
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel addressed the media today during the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Below is a transcript from the news conference featuring Manziel, a candidate to be drafted fourth overall by the Browns.
Q: What’s it been like spending time with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?
A: "It was cool. For him to reach back out to me after I extended a text message to him it was extremely cool. Kind of a funny conversation at first, worked our way into a more serious conversation, but it was really nice. I’m very thankful for him to extend a hand out to me in the situation I’m in."
Q: Comment on your measurements?To read more or comment...
Browns General Manager Ray Farmer met with Northeast Ohio reporters today during the NFL Scouting Combine. Below is a transcript from the interview.
On Bill Kuharich's formal role and relationship with the Cleveland Browns: “Bill does have a relationship with the Cleveland Browns. The relationship was somewhat forged while Mike (Lombardi) and Joe (Banner) were both here. Bill is a consultant. He’ll be working with me directly on all aspects of what I’m going to be tasked to do. So, he’s a consultant and that’s Bill’s role.”
On whether Kuharich will be in the office: “A combination of both. Bill is still founded in Kansas City so he still lives in the Kansas City area. His family is there so he’ll be back and forth.”
On prioritizing the needs of the organization in the upcoming weeks: “I think that the needs will be prioritized in a way that between Coach (Mike) Pettine and I we’ve already discussed the needs for his offense and his defense as it equates to (offensive coordinator) Kyle Shanahan and (defensive coordinator) Jim O’Neil, and we’ve kind of come up with a hierarchy already of the positions that we really need to address, which order we’ll address them and how we will address them.”To read more or comment...
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan spent 11 seasons working with new Browns coach Mike Pettine. The two were assistant coaches with the Baltimore Ravens, and then Pettine served as Ryan's defensive coordinator for four seasons (2009-12).
So what does Ryan think the Browns are getting in Pettine?
“Not much,” Ryan quipped today at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He's not a very handsome kid.I'll start right there. That's pretty obvious, but he's a football junkie. He comes from obviously his dad, a tremendous coach in his own right and he comes from a coaching family. He's a smart guy. And I think he'll want to be great, I don't think there's any doubt about it. I feel fortunate that I had Mike with me for as many years as I did, and hopefully he learned a few things, what to do, maybe what not to do from me and things, but I'm sure he's going to be very successful.”
And why did Ryan think Pettine should become his right-hand man?To read more or comment...
Wisconsin offensive lineman Ryan Groy said fellow Badger Joe Thomas is among the NFL players he watches most. The possibility of playing alongside the Browns’ 7-time Pro Bowl left tackle would almost be too much for Groy to fathom.
“That would be a very surreal experience,” Groy said. “He’s a Wisconsin legend and a guy I’ve always looked up to.”
Groy said he’s talked to Thomas twice, once at the Wisconsin football facility and the other when they played in a golf tournament together, although not in the same foursome.
The Browns are expected to upgrade the guard position in the draft or free agency.
Groy, 6-foot-4 1/2 and 316 pounds, said he’s told teams he’s most comfortable at the “inside three” positions, but is not afraid of trying tackle. He played in a school record 54 games for the Badgers -- starting at center, left guard, left tackle and fullback -- and never missed a game in four years. NFLDraftScout.com projects Groy as a seventh-round pick.
Former Browns General Manager Mike Lombardi has joined the New England Patriots as an assistant to the coaching staff, the Patriots announced this afternoon.
Lombardi will reunite with longtime friend and Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The two spent 1991-95 together with the Browns when Lombardi was a personnel executive and Belichick was the coach.
Lombardi’s second tour with the Browns lasted only 13 months. Owner Jimmy Haslam fired Lombardi along with CEO Joe Banner on Feb. 11 and promoted assistant GM Ray Farmer to Lombardi’s post.
So what exactly will Lombardi being doing for the Patriots?To read more or comment...
The Browns traded with the Pittsburgh Steelers last year for the first time since 1968, and Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert insists he would make the same move again.
During last year’s draft, ex-Browns CEO Joe Banner traded a fourth-round pick to the Steelers in exchange for their third-round selection in 2014, which will be the 83rd overall pick. Colbert then used the fourth-round pick he received from the Browns to choose Syracuse strong safety Shamarko Thomas 111th overall.
“We felt trading our third-round pick this year for a fourth last year to get a player Shamarko Thomas, a safety that we felt was worth of a third-round pick, we’d do it again today,” Colbert said. “But the result was the 8-8 [record], and we’ll see whether Shamarko can help change that. If he does, it was a good deal. If he doesn’t, it wasn’t.”
As a rookie, Thomas served as a backup to eight-time Pro Bowler Troy Polamalu and was used in sub packages. He played about 20 percent of the defensive snaps, compiling 29 tackles in 14 games.To read more or comment...
New Browns General Manager Ray Farmer met with a contingent of reporters from Northeast Ohio this morning at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Below are some highlights from the group interview.
*Most people expect the Browns to select a quarterback with the fourth overall in May’s draft. Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles are the top-rated quarterbacks in this year’s class and the prime candidates.
Farmer said it might be safe to say the Browns will pick a quarterback, but he wouldn’t commit to it.
“It could be safe, but we might not go that direction,” Farmer said. “It may not be what everybody thinks it’s going to be, so there’s an opportunity for some curveballs.”To read more or comment...
Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone only worked with new Browns coach Mike Pettine for a year, hiring Pettine as his defensive coordinator in 2013. Pettine jumped at the chance to take over the Browns, hired on Jan. 23.
Marrone complimented Pettine Thursday when he spoke at NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"Mike is very knowledgeable, very smart, has a great work ethic and we wish him the best of luck," Marrone said.
Asked how he would describe Pettine's demeanor and whether he's as hard-nosed as he looks, Marrone said, "I just respect him. I don’t look to characterize people by labeling them. I just think he’s a very hard worker, he’s very demanding, knows exactly what he wants and does a good job communicating that with the players."To read more or comment...
Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel is flirting with the Browns and other quarterback-needy teams atop the NFL Draft just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Manziel told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram his dream is to be drafted No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans on May 8, but he’ll be determined to lead the Browns to glory if they end up selecting him instead. He even showed off his knowledge of the expansion-era Browns and the misery they have endured at the quarterback position.
“If something happens, and it's the Cleveland Browns, I'm going to pour my heart out for the Dawg Pound and try to win a Super Bowl for Cleveland,” said Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2012 as a redshirt freshman. “I don't care if they've had 20 starting quarterbacks since 1999. I'm going to be the 21st and the guy that brought them the Super Bowl.”
The Browns have the fourth overall pick. The Texans own the top spot, followed by the St. Louis Rams at No. 2 and the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3.To read more or comment...
Ray Farmer made his first roster move as general manager of the Browns, signing defensive back Royce Adams, a South Euclid native.
The team announced the move this evening.
"A Dream come true to have the opportunity to play for my home town!" Adams wrote on Twitter. "Truly a blessing."
The New York Jets signed Adams as an undrafted free agent from Purdue University in 2012, when new Browns coach Mike Pettine served as the Jets’ defensive coordinator. Adams spent the 2012 season on injured reserve with a knee injury. He also spent training camp with the Jets last summer.
The 5-foot-10, 187-pound Adams spent his first three seasons at Purdue playing cornerback before converting to wide receiver for his senior year. In 2011, Adams played for the Arena Football League’s Pittsburgh Power before making a leap to the NFL the following year.To read more or comment...
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam sought advice from Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells -- and maybe a whole lot more.
BleacherReport.com’s Mike Freeman reported several unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation said Haslam wanted Parcells to run the Browns, who ousted CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi on Tuesday and elevated Ray Farmer from assistant GM to GM, giving him control of football operations and the 53-man roster.
Parcells told Freeman that he spoke to the Browns, though no job offer was made. In an e-mail to Freeman, Parcells explained that he talked to the Browns “only about how I believe organizations succeed and others fail.”
Freeman wrote that a Browns spokesman declined to provide a comment in response to his report.To read more or comment...
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam sidestepped questions during a news conference Tuesday about what role the organization’s 25-day, head-coaching search played in his decision to oust CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi and promote assistant GM Ray Farmer to Lombardi’s post, but it clearly was a significant factor, if not the deciding factor.
In a column published this morning on the Monday Morning Quarterback website, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King outlines two instances in which Banner either ruffled the feathers of coaching candidates or was flat-out dismissive. Those scenes, King wrote, could’ve contributed to Haslam’s shocking decision to shake up the front office.
Haslam and Banner ran the search after firing coach Rob Chudzinski the night of Dec. 29, when the Browns fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers and finished Chudzinski’s first season on the job with a record of 4-12.
The drawn-out quest ended on Jan. 23 with the Browns hiring former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, a move Haslam and Banner might not have been in complete agreement on. Following Pettine’s introductory news conference that afternoon, Banner praised the other finalist for the job, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and lamented how difficult it was to move on from Quinn instead of waiting until after the Super Bowl to interview him a second time (more on this later).To read more or comment...
The Browns have engaged in discussions to extend Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden’s contract, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal this morning, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
Haden’s representatives talked to members of the Browns on Tuesday, though no deal is imminent, the source said.
Haden will enter the final season of his five-year, $50 million rookie contract in 2014, unless his deal, which included $26 million guaranteed and as much as $8 million in incentives, is extended. He is slated to make a base salary of $6,678,193 this year.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Haden has been one of the Browns’ best players since they drafted him seventh overall in 2010, and he’s coming off his strongest season, one in which he earned his first career Pro Bowl selection and was voted second-team All Pro. In 15 games last season, Haden compiled 60 tackles, four interceptions and a career-high 21 passes defensed.To read more or comment...
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam held a news conference today to explain his decision to oust CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi and to promote assistant GM Ray Farmer to GM. Below is a transcript from the news conference.
Opening statement: “Several weeks ago, Joe Banner and I began having discussions about the structure and organization of the Cleveland Browns, and over the last several days, have come to the conclusion that Joe has done a superb job putting the right people in place for the Browns. Joe was obviously solely instrumental in bringing Alec Scheiner, our president, who will continue to run our business operations in place, and played a key role in hiring (Browns Head) Coach (Mike) Pettine and in bringing in (Browns general manager) Ray Farmer to our organization and ensuring that Ray Farmer did stay with our organization. Joe and I, after a lot of conversation, mutually agreed that it was best for the organization if we streamlined things, where accountability and reporting lines were much clearer. Accordingly, effective today, we’ve announced that Alec Scheiner, as I mentioned earlier, will run our business side and remain as president, Mike Pettine will obviously be the head coach and Ray Farmer will be our GM. We will not have a CEO, and those three people will report directly to me.
“I cannot thank Joe, who will serve in a transition role for several months, probably until May or June, enough for what he has done for me personally and our family in terms of teaching us the NFL business, if you will. I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone smarter, who worked harder or a better negotiator than Joe. It’s been a pleasure to work with him during this time period, and as I said, he’ll help us as we transition over the next few months.
“I would also be remiss if I did not thank (Michael) Lombardi. Mike and his wife, Millie, are great friends of ours. Mike has great football acumen, and I think that Mike understands how to put together a football team. Mike and Joe have left us in good position in terms of both free agency and cap space, as well as this year’s draft, where we have 10 overall picks and three of the first 35.
“At the same time, I can’t tell you how excited I am about the opportunity to work directly with Pett, Alec and Ray. I believe that we have positioned this organization to become a winning football team, something that has not happened on a consistent basis around here in a long time. I will accept comments and criticism about change. I will accept responsibility for some of the changes that have been made. There is no primer for being an NFL owner. It is a learn-on-the-go, if you will, but I think what’s really important is for everybody in this room but really much more so for our fans to understand that this ownership group, our family and this owner is committed to bringing a winner to the Browns. As I said when we introduced Pett a few weeks ago, ‘Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words.’ When we finish this press conference, and I know that Ray is going to address you all for a little bit, I know that he welcomes that opportunity as do you, but we’re going to go to work and we’re fully committed to making this franchise a winner.”To read more or comment...
New Browns General Manager Ray Farmer addressed the media today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
Opening statement: “First and foremost, I’d like to thank (Browns owner) Jimmy Haslam and the Haslam family. It’s a tremendous opportunity for me to be sitting here today. It’s a natural progression for me in this situation that I find myself in today here as the new general manager for the Cleveland Browns. There are several people that I’d like to thank, but I think I’ll skip that point right now, specifically because there are a lot of names that I would have to get to, but I really want to focus on two people in that regard, the first being Joe Banner, who was integral in bringing me here and very instrumental and led the search to bring me to Cleveland, and I’d like to thank him for that; the other is Mike Lombardi, who I worked with for the past year. He’s someone that I didn’t know prior to coming to Cleveland, but I’ve developed a tremendous relationship with Mike over that time. He’s a dear friend at this point in time.
“With that being said, I’m a big believer in relationships and how people come together and why those things are important, and it’s communication. Three tenets that I am going to hold near and dear to as I’m here with the Cleveland Browns are – you’ll figure this out about me in time, I’m a big acronym guy – the first one is KTB, ‘Know, trust and believe.’ One of the bases behind relationships for me is that in order for people to believe you, they’ve got to know you; then as they know you, they’ll trust you; and as they trust you, they’ll believe in you. I think that connecting to people is critical in that way.
“The other [acronym], and the guys around the league that really know me will know what this one is about, is GUTF, ‘Get up the field.’ It’s a football term. All of my guys, we send text messages back and forth, and it’s kind of how we end things. It speaks to really getting after it, finishing strong and all the things that I think are tantamount in football. That competitiveness, that passion, all of those things come out in ‘Get up the field.’ If the running back has the ball, you want him to get up the field; a defensive lineman, you want him to get up the field. Those things are going to be part of how I drive myself, and it’s really predicated on your work ethic and desire to finish strong.To read more or comment...