Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/8/14

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.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Doctors found mass on Eric Berry's chest

Jay Gruden: RG3 to remain starter against Colts

LeBron James on four-game losing streak: 'I stink'

Report: Johnny Manziel and his entourage involved in brawl

Report: Mariners sign Kyle Seager to $100 million extension

Reports confirm Ryan Mallett is out for the season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Golden Tate: Loss to Patriots was 'embarrassing'

Pete Carroll: Beating Cards ‘best feeling we’ve had all year’

Bill Belichick burns Dominic Raiola over cheap shot

Tom Brady: ‘It’s fun going to Lambeau’

Anquan Boldin after exchange with Jim Haslett: He’s irrelevant

Ryan Mallett reportedly could be done for season

Tampa paper wants the Bears to take Josh McCown back

The top 25 greatest rivalries in college football history

WATCH: Tom Brady sits down for interview with Randy Moss

UNC vandalized Duke locker room with spray paint after win

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez highlight Hall of Fame ballot

Sales of Odell Beckham Jr.'s jersey on the rise

RG3 struggles again, Redskins offense stuck in neutral

12 amazing stats from Week 12

Hockey Fights of the Week

Three head coaches who won't be with current team in 2015

Katy Perry confirmed as Super Bowl XLIX halftime performer

10 takeaways from Sunday's Week 12 NFL action

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.

Greatest college football rivalries

LeBron on losing streak: 'I stink'

Report: Manziel, friends get in brawl

Tate: Loss to Pats was 'embarrassing'

Bill Belichick burns Dominic Raiola

Boldin on Haslett: He's irrelevant

Pablo Sandoval signs with Red Sox?

Beckham makes the catch of the season

10 takeaways from NFL Week 12

WWE Survivor Series results

Report: Red Sox set to add Hanley Ramirez

Dominic Raiola admits to dirty play

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.