Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 3/1/13

CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Josh Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns carries the ball during the NFL game against the Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 25, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Twenty-two combined seasons in Orange and Brown. Four Pro Bowls. Two fan favorites. Both free agents. Cleveland fans love to hold on to their sports heroes. Josh Cribbs and Phil Dawson have been consistently the best things about Cleveland Browns football since the team returned in 1999. Josh Cribbs walked on the team as an undrafted free agent after playing QB for Kent State in 2005. His counterpart from the University of Akron Charlie Frye, was a third round pick of the Browns that same year. Frye would start 18 games for the Browns before being traded to Seattle in 2007. Phil Dawson is another undrafted player that found a home with the Browns after trying to stick with the Raiders and Patriots. Dawson is the only player that has been with the team from the return in 1999. Both are fan favorites. Whether it was the hard work they put in to become top players at their positions or the way they embraced Cleveland and it’s fans, both are loved and would be missed if they weren’t with the team next year. Josh Cribbs has said he would give a hometown discount in order to finish his career with the Browns. That still might not be enough for the new management to give him a contract. Vic Carucci hit the nail on the head with Cribbs- “As noble as it might have been for Cribbs to say in the media he would be willing to take a pay cut to remain with the Browns, it doesn’t change the fact that the team’s decision-makers need to believe he holds enough value to maintain a valuable roster spot.” Cribbs may be a legend when it comes to returning kicks, but is he the same returner? And is the return game even the same with the new rules? The fact remains Travis Benjamin is probably a better option than Cribbs as a returner. As a wide receiver, Cribbs isn’t a starter in the NFL. Could a creative coach find ways to get Cribbs the ball and be effective? At one time that was certainly true. Now? Not sure. The fact remains NFL roster spots are a big deal. If the Browns are to give one of those spots to Cribbs, he has to give them something that they can’t get from another player. Does Josh give them that? After 14 seasons, Dawson is on top of his game. Not many players earn their first Pro Bowl birth at age 38. Obviously he plays a position that allows players to perform at a high level for a longer time. Dawson isn’t just a prolific kicker, he’s a prolific kicker in a stadium that isn’t easy to kick in. Unfortunately, the Browns have already used the franchise tag on Dawson twice, which would mean they would have to pay him QB money to do so again. Will the Browns offer Dawson a multi-year deal? How much will Dawson ask for? There is a good chance that the Browns will pass on both players. Perhaps the fallout from not signing these two fan favorites won’t be as big as it would have been in the past. Browns fans realize the situation for the most part, and know that this new organization has no ties or real attachment to them. If the Browns do open the wallet a little this off season and bring in a couple players the fans are excited about, it would certainly smooth over losing a couple of fan favorite special teamers.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Examining Bo Ryan's legacy at Wisconsin

World Cup semifinals preview: US-Japan, Germany-England

Tim Duncan to help Spurs pitch LaMarcus Aldridge

Report: Knicks gave up on signing Marc Gasol 'long ago'

Kings terminate Mike Richards' contract due to 'breach'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Nets believe they can trade Deron Williams

Mickelson likely committed no crime even if he gambled

Report: Dwyane Wade to decline option, become a free agent

Darren McFadden: I feel like a rookie again

Report: Mavericks a favorite to land DeAndre Jordan

Report: Kevin Love likely to re-sign with Cavaliers

Top seven storylines entering free agency around the NBA

Former FSU mascot killed in argument over gumbo recipe

Royals slipping in ASG voting, lose two more starters

Fred Smoot: I played with gay players, 'everyone knew'

Bobby Portis brings donuts for media at press conference

John Calipari shares his thoughts on Confederate flag

Steve Weatherford, Jason Kelce get into Twitter beef

Larry Nance Jr. apologized to 'Mr. Bryant' for rapist tweet

J.J. Watt 'tackles' stage crasher at Zac Brown Band show

Jimmy Butler reportedly wants to leave Bulls, sign with Lakers

Selecting the 2015 National League All-Stars

Taking a look at the Philadelphia Sixers' latest horde

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

The Sixers' latest horde

Projected landing spots for NBA's top free agents

MLB changes format for Home Run Derby

Revis to work out with Patriots DBs

Peterson: I'm still NFL's best RB

Kobe gives great quote on friendship

Winners, losers and steals of the NHL Draft

Carmelo calls Porzingis a 'steal'

WATCH: J.J. Watt scores hockey goal

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.