Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 3/19/12

Baltimore Ravens tackle Tony Pashos watches play during a pre-season game against the New Orleans Saints August 26, 2005 in New Orleans. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
The Cleveland Browns released journeyman offensive lineman Tony Pashos last week, who had been oft-injured during his two-year stint with the Browns.  Pashos was a steady fixture, when healthy, on the right side of the offensive line.

The real surprise, after not being able to reach a contract re-negotiation agreement, was the release of Eric Steinbach, the starting left guard for the past four years for the Browns, and four years prior to that for the Bengals.

Steinbach suffered a back injury during the shortened training camp last year, and ended up having season-ending disc surgery in August.

The Browns stand by their decision to cut Steinabch as a salary cap move, now freeing up the $6 million he was due to receive this season.  I am usually never one to question a business decision for how tight teams have to negotiate the salary cap, but this is a blatant mistake by the Browns.

Colt McCoy was sacked 32 times last season, and Seneca Wallace was sacked six times.  Combined, that would make the total sacks on Browns' quaterbacks 38, which would be sixth in the NFL.  SIXTH!  While you look at the five quarterbacks who took more sacks than the Browns' quarterbacks, you would find Mark Sanchez (39), Ben Roethlisberger (40), Blaine Gabbert (40), Tarvaris Jackson (42), and Alex Smith (44).  I'm going to give Roethlisberger a one-time flyer on this stat, because I know he is usually impossible to bring down, and he was hampered with a bad ankle for a good portion of last season.

The Browns, though, gave up 38 sacks on their quarterbacks, and many of those sacks came from the left side.  I realize Tom Heckert, Browns' General Manager, feels as though Jason Pinkston did a "solid job", but perhaps he did not watch the same Browns games as I did, or perhaps the television coverage I watched was better than the game tape he has seen.

All year long, defenses knew the weakness was the left side, and attacked Joe Thomas relentlessly.  Thomas, in his usual stud fashion, took on multiple rushers every game.  Thomas is money, any Browns fan knows that, and if the Browns ever make the mistake of losing him, well, all I know is that the Browns might as well just move the team away again.

When Steinbach was healthy, Thomas and Steinbach shored up that left side, and truly made a nearly impregnable wall between the defense and the Browns' quarterbacks.  The Browns have stated they are going to keep an eye on Steinbach, through free-agency, and will try to bring him back, if possible.  I hope they can, because the alternatives are a very green Pinkston, or drafting a lineman, but with that 4th pick in the Draft, the Browns are still teasing everyone that they are leaning towards Robert Griffin III.

Who really knows what Cleveland will do, as Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert continue to move their chess pieces around on the board, but one thing is for certain, losing Steinbach was losing a knight they needed for the future.

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