Browns Offseason Report
The Browns have made plenty of moves in this free agency period. This really has seemed like “activity for activity’s sake” though, didn’t it? T.J. Ward is gone. The Browns then sign a remarkably similar player in Donte Whitner, who will be much more popular though with his OSU lineage. My favorite part of this move is that they let go of a guy that was known primarily for knocking the crap out of receivers after they caught or couldn’t possibly catch the ball, to sign a guy that is primarily known for knocking the crap out of receivers after they have caught or couldn’t possibly catch the ball. I’m not clear if either of these guys ever prevented a pass from being completed. The good news is the Browns have the “dude that gets a 15 yard unnecessary roughing penalty every week” covered once again on their roster.
D’Qwell Jackson is gone and instead replaced by an older version of himself in Karlos Dansby. Dansby was a Cardinal last year, and one thing I know is no one runs on the fucking Cardinals. OK. I made that up. I could pretend to really drill down on this signing, but I saw the Cardinals play once last year and can’t really recall what the inside linebackers did. D’Qwell seemed like he had been here a decade, so to see him replaced by an older guy they paid more money for seemed a very Cleveland Browns way to handle the problem.
The other big signing was Ben Tate at RB. I was really excited about this because just the other day I was thinking, “Boy, do I miss the Rueben Droughns era here in Cleveland. I wish they could sign another Droughns-esque type player.” Bam! Just like that, the Browns drop $7 million for two years on a journeyman running back that is “excited to be here”. It’s great to see a young man that hasn’t yet realized that he has crushed his own NFL dreams with the signing of a piece of paper. We all know how this will end. As with most skilled position player signings made by the Browns, I fully expect him to either kill someone while driving drunk, get a staph infection, or lose his mind prior to actually getting out on the field. This is not to suggest that Ben Tate is of questionable character, but rather just facing the reality that signing with the Browns is like surfing with the Hawaiian tiki idol that almost did Greg Brady in those many years ago. Signing here is… taboo!
It is fun to speculate on how Tate will become unable to trot out onto the field this Fall. I was scrolling on an online sports book and found “eaten by bear” was at 3-1, “skydiving mishap” at 5-1, and what I consider a real value play “rickets” at 9-1. “Blown out knee playing wiffleball” was at 12-1. I think “lost at sea” is a sucker bet at 25-1 though. As far as I know, Ben Tate is not a seafaring man. Unless someone can produce a photo of Tate in Sperry topsiders, a polo shirt, and a sailor’s cap, I’m steering clear of “lost at sea”. It’s not really a question of “if Ben Tate can’t play this season”, but just a matter of how. I might swing by LeCharles Bentley’s place to ask for his input on this wager. He knows.
Clearly, the draft is all about finding the 17th “Face of the Franchise” starting QB since 1999. As there is plenty of time to speculate about that, I’d rather instead focus on what we’ve lost. The real story of the off season thus far was the release of my favorite Browns player ever, Brandon Weeden. Never one to let his obvious inability to compete at this level hold him back, Weeden is right now signing with the Dallas Cowboys. To say I hope he settles in there and Tony Romo gets knocked out for the season in Week 1 is one of the greatest understatements of all time. While we got to enjoy Weeden on a regional level, his exposure on the national stage in Dallas would be one of the most compelling car-crash-on-the-side-of-the-
The Browns are fully committed to drafting a QB. My dream of having Michael Vick throw touchdowns in front of the Dawg Pound will go unrealized. This makes me sad as it would have been just the kind of horrible PR move the Browns would never have thought through completely in the past. I hope they haven’t turned over a new leaf. Matt Schaub has been decided to be a riskier play than that Bortles kid from Central Florida, a suddenly shaky Teddy Bridgewater, or the biggest high risk roll of the dice ever in Johnny Manziel. Who the hell knows which, if any, of these guys can win games in the NFL? All I know is that our Golden Age ended when the Full Weeden signed with America’s team. My only hope is the next Face of the Franchise can be half as spectacular as Weeden.
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