In the wake of the release of veteran defensive end and all-around decent guy Frostee Rucker earlier this week, ESPNClevland’s Tony Grossi speculated as to what unsigned, unrestricted free agents are unlikely to be back in Cleveland for the start of the Joe Banner era.
The most notable may be the fan favorites in Phil Dawson and Joshua Cribbs, but former second-round draft pick Mohammed Massaqoui and veteran tight end Ben Watson also make the list.
“Football is all about territorialism,” writes Grossi, ”and the new guys are going to be marking theirs now that they are freed to reconfigure the roster.”
After being one of Eric Mangini’s first selections as the head honcho in Cleveland, Massaquoi failed to amount to much of anything in terms of return. He never topped 36 catches in a season, had two 100-yard games and got severely outplayed by Josh Gordon in 2012. If there is any silver lining, it is that he outlasted fellow second-round picks Brian Robiske and David Veikune when it came to a roster spot in the NFL.
Watson, on the other hand, will be 33 in December and, if not signed, could conceivably earn a spot on a contender as a locker-room leader and backup pass-catcher. He filled in admirably in Cleveland, but it appears that the more athletic and considerably younger Jordan Cameron will get his shot Norv Turner’s next project tight end.
[Related: Joe Banner and the assumed departure of Phil Dawson]