The Cleveland Browns have had a lot of turnover in the past year.
They started with new owners Jimmy Haslam, a businessman buying the club from the Lerner Family in August 2012 for $1 Billion. Then the team, after a difficult first year fired first year coach Pat Shurmur, who had two miserable years and replaced him with offensive guru Rob Chudzinski from the Caroilina Panthers. Chudzinski took an inept offense near the bottom of the league in 2010 and turned it around and had two top 10 offensive season, led by former #1 pick QB Cam Newton.
Chudzinski and new Vice President of Player Personnel and former analyst for the NFL network Mike Lombardi have a big job in front of them. What free agents do you go after? What do you try and get in the draft? The team needs to address on offense - quarterback, wide receiver, a right guard and possibly a tight end. On defense they need help with the linebackers defensive end and cornerback help.
With so many holes where do you start?
Here are a few suggestions for free agents/trade that they should explore.
The biggest question going into the off season is what they do with the quarterback position. The Browns previous GM used a first rounder last year on 28 year old Oklahoma State Brandon Weeden, who had a rough year, where he threw 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Do they scrap this selection and find a seasoned. They won’t go back to the draft as Weeden has a chance in his limited time, but if they want to go all in and trade for San Francisco QB Alex Smith with some combination of their high round picks and a young defensive tackle, which the 49ers could use.
To help on the offensive line they could draft a stud line man, like Alabama guard Chance Womack, the top guard in the draft, but if they go the free agent route, they should look at Buffalo Bills guard Andy Levitre. Levitre is a constant presence with 64 consecutive starts, he would help spring their stud RB Trent Richardson and provide some stability with LT Joe Thomas to protect either Weeden or a new QB.
Defensively, they could knock off two birds with one stone by going all out for LB Paul Kruger, who can play defensive end and outside linebacker in either 3-4 or a 4-3 defense. They will have to go all in, but having $45.6 million available, will make it possible. Another possible would be defensive tackle or end, veteran Richard Seymour. He would provide leadership and flexibility, but not cost as much as Kruger.
The Browns have high round picks, including the 6th overall, plus the second most cap room going into this off season. They are in position to change some of the mistakes the previous regime made, but they can’t waste all of this and not fill their needs.
It will be interesting to see how aggressive they are. If anything they will make news.