Why Are the Browns Dying to Trade Braylon?

April 15, 2009

The rumors are circulating that the Cleveland Browns are aggressively shopping number one receiver Braylon Edwards.  Why?  The 26 year-old receiver is an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the 2009 season and they are leery of their ability to resign him. It is reported that Edwards wants a contract paying him $10 million per year or more. The Browns are said to be demanding 1st– and 3rd– round picks as a base to any Edwards deal.

The New York Giants are said to be the team hottest for Edwards and it’s no secret why. They’ve cut former number one receiver Plaxico Burress, after struggling to renegotiate a new contract with the troubled player. When the Giants lost Burress last year after the notorious gun-in-sweatpants incident, which ended with Plax with a bullet hole in his thigh, they were not the same team. They are in dire need of a big, fast receiver for Eli to under throw down the field.

The reason for Cleveland’s interest in trading Edwards is not enough to make sense. They aren’t sure that they can resign him at the end of the year? There are 2 issues with this excuse. The first issue is that Cleveland can always use the Franchise tag on the star receiver next year. While it is not a perfect way to settle the issue, it is an option that will allow them to keep the player. The second issue is that they can Franchise the player and trade him for picks then. For a team that is short on star power and is set to have a quarterback competition in trading camp, does it make sense to trade the best player on your team?

Trading a bona-fide number one receiver, with a career 16.0 ypc, is not a way to build a successful team.

Trading a bona-fide number one receiver, with a career 16.0 ypc, is not a way to build a successful team.

Beyond Edwards, Cleveland has second year player Syndric Steptoe and newly signed David Patten as the players following Edwards on the depth chart. That is not inspiring for a team that is trying to be competitive. Trading Edwards is not giving either of your quarterbacks a legitimate shot at succeeding in 2009, especially after trading tight end Kellen Winslow for a second round pick earlier this offseason. The Brown, headed by new head coach Eric Mangini, would surely draft Edwards replacement in the upcoming draft, as they currently have the 5th overall pick and two 2nd round picks (among others) and would be adding another 1st and 3rd to their pile. But as we’ve seen in the past, drafting players is no certainty of success, let alone that there is no guarantee that the desired player is available when you are drafting. Furthermore, rookie wide receivers face one of the steepest learning curves for incoming players, due to the complexity of pro-style offenses, timing of routes, and the increased skill of opposing corners. So there isn’t a certainty that the receiver that Mangini drafts will succeed. And after witnessing some draft flops he’s had in the past (Vernon Gholston anyone?), the Cleveland brass should be weary of trading a proven commodity. And given the negative perception Mangini has around the league, signing free agents in the future is no promise either.

Successful teams in the NFL don’t trade away proven players and improve. Rather, they take a few steps back and there is no telling if they will be able to compete in the future. The Browns need to keep Edwards for the 2009 season and draft to improve a bottom-feeding defense. Then, after the season, they should take stock in what their needs are and address the Edwards situation accordingly. Rushing to make a deal for the sake of making a deal is not a good way to run a business. But then again, hiring Eric Mangini to steer the ship wouldn’t be they way I run a business either. Good luck Brown fans, as the future is not looking too bright for you now.

Advertisements

Burress Released; Now What?

April 3, 2009

Today the NY Giants released Plaxico Burress, after a tumultuous season which ended with Plax shooting himself in the leg.  Per reports, NY offered Burress a restructured contract that would have addressed the team’s grievance against the gun-toting receiver and ensured he stayed on the roster for the upcoming season.  Plax declined and the team immediately cut him.

Quick summary of events that led to this:

  • Plax missed several practices after signing a brand-new long-term contract, encurring fines.
  • Plax arrived late for several other practices, encurring fines.
  • Police were called to Plax’s home due to a domestic dispute, no charges were filed.
  • Plax shot himself in the leg at a club in late November.  The team suspended him for the remainder of the season for “conduct detrimental to the team”
  • NYG withheld $1M bonus due in December, citing the suspension as just cause.
  • Burress is currently negotiating a plea agreement with the state of New York due to several gun charges.

New York never wanted him back.  That was obvious from day one.  They always left the door slightly open for a return, but it never seemed that management wanted him to return.  Perhaps they grew wary of his actions after several indiscrestions.  From the sounds of it, the restructured contract ensured the Giants would keep the $1M they withheld from him in December.  Coach Coughlin was sick of dealing with the immature Burress.

So that leaves us here:  What does Plax do now?

He got his trial for gun charges suspended, most likely to negotiate a plea deal.  The max jail time is 3.5 years, and reports say that he is trying to avoid jail time.  Legal experts say that jail time is a guarantee and NY prosecuters are not expected to do the star any favors.  NY has some of the most strict gun laws in the country and they are said to want to make an example out of Burress.  But for the sake of arguement, let’s assume he’ll see the football field at some point in ’09.  Where does he end up?   Here’s my take:

  • Chicago – Their only early pick in this year’s draft is in the 2nd round.  They need help at WR, but also S and CB.  Their receiver corp is terrible and they just spent a bounty on Cry Baby Cutler.  He needs someone to throw to and Burress is still a great receiver.
  • Baltimore – Ray Lewis killed 2 people at a Super Bowl party and he’s the face of the franchise.  Maybe Plax can become “born-again” after giving himself a flesh wound.  The Ravens have a strong veteran system set-up that might be able to keep him in check.  And Flacco’s targets are still not that great so he could use him.
  • Philly – The team says they are set at receiver, but anybody who’s seen them knows that McNabb needs a big target.  They never effectively replaced Owens from the Super Bowl season.  Curtis and Jackson are good players, but they are tiny.  Burress is a 6’5″ beast.  The Eagles are always in contention every year, so they can afford to sit and wait for Burress to get back on the field, after jail and a Goodell suspension.
  • New England – Just kidding, but I’m waiting for the media to suggest this and run with it.  Aren’t the Pat’s linked to every star in the league, just because we’re nasty?  We piss excellence, and every player wants to play for us.  The media will point to Moss and Corey Dillon as the fact that Belicheck can change troubled players.  Let’s get this straight;  they didn’t shoot anyone, let alone themselves.  This is not happening.
  • Maimi – A real possibility.  They have a need for a big receiver opposite Ginn.  I could see them signing him to a one year contract with stipulations forcing Burress to behave to get paid.  Would Parcells do it?  Maybe, because he’s not coaching “the player” in this scenario, so he can pass the buck.  Burress’ only hope would be that Ronnie Brown is throwing it from the Wildcat, because Chad couldn’t hit him deep to save his life.
  • Bengals – Burress has the rap sheet and character issues required for consideration by the Bungles.  Yeah they signed Coles, but since when has common sense ever entered Cincy’s mind?  Exactly.
  • Jacksonville – It seems as this is the 10th consecutive year they’ve needed a number 1 receiver.  They have several needs and this could fill one.  But who knows what they’ll do?  Del Rio got rid of lots of bad chemistry players this off-season and after being burned by signing Jerry Porter last year, they are trying to avoid that again.
  • Oakland – Al Davis likes speed.  He doesn’t care about character.  Plaxico has lots of one and little of the other.  I think its a match made in heaven.  Especially because Goodell probably never wants to see Plax play again (he hates thugs) and Big Al hates the league.  Davis can give the league the finger while actually improving his team.  This needs to happen.
  • Dallas – Nope.  While any other year this would be a possibility, I think that Jerry Jones is actually giving this “team chemistry” thing a try.  I wouldn’t rule it out down the line though.
  • Tennessee – A forgotten team.  They need help at receiver and Plax fits the bill.  But coach Fisher values character and I think he’d be hesitant to get involved with him.  But he’d fill a need.

Quick hits:

  • Michael Vick says he was immature to engage in dog-fighting and it was irresponsible to kill dogs.  Seriously?  Immaturity is showing up late to work, handing in homework late, paying a credit card bill late.  It is not buying a compound for the sole reason to breed and fight pitbulls.  Irresponsible to kill dogs?  This guy has obviously not learned anything from his time in jail.  He’s still a sick S.O.B. and he won’t play in the league this year.  There’s no way that Goodell gets burned by this d-bag again.  But he will play in 2010 and there will be bidding for his services.  He had skill, we’ll find out if he still has it next year.
  • Cutler has beef with his new offensive coordinator, Ron Turner.  Apparently when Turner was the head coach at Univ. of Illinois and Cry Baby Cutler was a senior in h.s. he was promised a scholarship.  And then Illinois landed another qb and rescinded the offer.  That’s Cutler’s story.  Turner denies ever offering him a scholarship.  I love this already.  Cutler is a bitch and he needs drama.  Keep it coming big guy
  • What’s with the drug test results getting leaked? Raji was leaked yesterday, and now Cushing and Matthews have supposedly popped positive.  While I think they are completely wrong to have tested positive in a test they knew was coming, I think the league has a serious problem on their hands.  These test results are not supposed to be public knowledge.  Medical information should be confidential and most definitely not released to the media.  Especially before the teams get the official reports.  The league needs to fix this immediately.  But the players should never have tested positive in the first place.
    Update – Cushing and Matthews apparently tested positive for steroids, while Raji, Vontae Davis and Percy Harvin have tested positive for marijauna.  If true, all are idiots.  College players are expecting a drug test at the combine.  It is incredibly dumb to engage in these decisions.  That said, at least Cushing and Matthews partook in something that will benefit them.  Steroids at least make some sense.  But weed?  How is that helping anybody?  Dumb, dumb, dumb.