Cleveland Browns Rumors & News

Mangini: Browns A Fit For Kaepernick

  • Former NFL head coach and current 49ers assistant Eric Mangini believes that Colin Kaepernick would be a great fit for the Browns.  “I think as the market settles and people start looking at these young quarterbacks they brought in and start evaluating the quarterback situation, they might realize it may not look as good as they hoped it would be,” Mangini told PFT. “I always thought he would be a good fit for the Browns. Hue [Jackson’s] system is multiple shifts and motions, and that’s what he did in San Francisco. Hue has an element of quarterback-driven runs, I think Colin is excellent as that. As a candidate, him vs. RGIII a year ago, I’d take Colin 10 times out of 10.” So far, the Browns have shown no interest in Kaepernick. To date, only Seattle has given him a real look.

Opinion: Josh Gordon Won't Play For Browns Again

  • Speaking of troubled receivers, the chances of Josh Gordon ever playing for the Browns again are slim to none, Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland opines (on Twitter). The suspended Gordon, whom the NFL denied reinstatement two weeks ago, can reapply in the fall.

Browns Add Ryan Grigson To Front Office

The Browns have announced the hiring of former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson as a senior personnel executive. Grigson will report to vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry, who worked under Grigson in Indianapolis from 2012-15.

Ryan Grigson

“Ryan brings valuable experience to our personnel group,” said Browns GM Sashi Brown. “He was raised as a road-scout and has been evaluating talent in this league for almost 20 years. We place a premium on that experience and on his passion for football. Ryan has much to offer to any personnel department and we are pleased that he chose to join our staff.”

Grigson had been out of work since the Colts fired him in January, which ended a five-year run atop their football department. Grigson’s tenure in Indianapolis began with a flourish, as his first draft included the likes of Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen – all of whom helped the Colts win 11 games each year from 2012-14 and earn playoff berths. However, Grigson ultimately struggled to put enough talent around Luck, the crown jewel of the franchise, and had difficulty coexisting with head coach Chuck Pagano. Thanks in part to those factors, particularly the inability to support Luck, the Colts went .500 in each of the previous two seasons and owner Jim Irsay elected to part with Grigson.

Prior to his hiring in Indy, Grigson worked in scouting capacities with the Rams and Eagles from 1999-2011. He’ll return to that type of role with the Browns.

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Brock Osweiler To Compete For No. 1 Job

Oft-derided quarterback Brock Osweiler raised eyebrows Wednesday when he said he showed enough on film over the past two years to continue as a starter, but he might actually have a shot to earn the No. 1 job in Cleveland, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link).

Brock Osweiler

Since Cleveland acquired Osweiler and a second-round pick from the Texans in a stunning trade in March, the 26-year-old’s existence on the Browns “has changed dramatically,” reports Rapoport. Osweiler is a “far, far different quarterback” than he was with the Texans last season, says Rapoport, who expects the 6-foot-8, 235-pounder to compete for a starting role with the Browns.

When Cleveland landed Osweiler, the early belief was that they did so just to acquire second-rounder at the cost of his $16MM salary, and that he wouldn’t be on the Browns come September. It remains possible Osweiler won’t make the Browns, but it could help his cause that they didn’t address the quarterback position via free agency or another trade, nor did they use one of their two first-round picks on a signal-caller. The Browns instead waited until the second round, selecting former Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer at No. 52 overall. Like Osweiler, Kizer will compete to start, though he’s certainly not a lock to take the reins immediately.

As Rapoport notes, Osweiler intrigued enough in Denver two years ago to have both the Broncos and Texans offer him sizable contracts in free agency the ensuing offseason. Osweiler was hardly spectacular with the Broncos in 2015, but if he resembles that version of himself more than his disastrous 2016 form in the coming months, he could beat out the inexperienced trio of Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan to emerge as the Browns’ season-opening starter.

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Browns Considering McCourty At Safety

  • Jason McCourty is a possible free safety candidate for the Browns, Pat McManamon of ESPN.com notes. Hue Jackson said the newly acquired defender, a career-long corner, would get a look at safety and the team would play the best four in the secondary. Ed Reynolds will start Cleveland’s OTA workouts at safety, per Jackson. Upon signing, McCourty said he’d be willing to play free safety. Twin brother Devin McCourty, of course, has been a standout back-line defender for the Patriots. It would certainly behoove the Browns to involve McCourty as much as possible, and they are light on experience at safety. They still have Jamar Taylor, who played better in Cleveland than he did in Miami, at corner and drafted Jabrill Peppers as a safety. But the latter doesn’t have much experience there.
  • The Browns will relocate inside linebacker Christian Kirksey to the weak side in Gregg Williams‘ 4-3 look, McManamon reports. Kirksey led the Browns by nearly 50 tackles last season by registering 148 stops.

6 Possible Fits For Victor Cruz

Victor Cruz is starting to generate some interest months after the Giants ended his lengthy New York tenure in February. But the slot receiver is far removed from his best seasons, ones that occurred before multiple leg injuries sidetracked his career.

But there’s still a market for the 30-year-old wideout, probably on a short-term arrangement to see what the former Pro Bowler has left. Cruz met with the Panthers before the draft, but they went in another direction. The 2012 Pro Bowler also went on visits to discuss a potential role with the Jaguars and Bears last week, and the Ravens expressed interest as well.

Here are some of the fits for Cruz as he attempts to re-establish himself on another team following the down years that marred the second half of his Giants tenure:

  • Ravens — Baltimore lost both Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken and has done little to help its receiving corps this offseason. The Ravens did not draft a wideout despite a depth chart that’s headlined by 2016 street free agent Mike Wallace and injury risk Breshad Perriman. Cruz would stand to be a far more proven inside complement for this team compared to what is currently on the roster. A rumored Cruz/Ravens summit hasn’t occurred yet, but the Ravens are believed to be targeting veteran UFAs that would likely serve niche roles this season.
  • Raiders — Oakland made some flashy additions to an offense that was already among the league’s best. Marshawn Lynch, Jared Cook and Cordarrelle Patterson will see plenty of time for the rejuvenated team, but the Raiders still don’t have a surefire No. 3 wide receiver. Former UDFA Seth Roberts did not build on his promising spurts in 2015, and Patterson has made his name as a kick returner. The former first-round pick hasn’t been a consistent receiving threat. The Raiders are targeting extensions for Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack, but a low-end Cruz pact — likely for one year — wouldn’t stand to impede those pursuits much.
  • Browns — If Cruz visited the Bears, he’s not dead set on playing for a team in position to contend now. The Browns look to have made a mistake by cutting Taylor Gabriel last summer, and they don’t have much beyond Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman despite a sizable wideout corps acquired in last year’s draft. Cruz doesn’t fit a rebuilding team, but Cleveland has young quarterbacks Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer. A better target to help over the middle would stand to aid in these passers’ development. Cruz did haul in 39 passes for 586 yards last season; that’s over 300 more than any current Browns WR3 candidate did.
  • Jaguars — The obvious connection to Tom Coughlin makes this avenue somewhat viable, and the parties getting together for a meeting makes Jacksonville a candidate. It’s just more difficult to see where Cruz would play than some of these other teams. The Jags already have starters Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee put together his best season in 2016. While Robinson and Lee are UFAs after the season, Cruz as of now does not profile as a player that would command a multiyear deal and factor into longer-term planning.
  • Lions — Detroit has two locked-in starters in Marvin Jones and Golden Tate, and the franchise selected 6-foot-4 wideout Kenny Golladay in Round 3. The Lions, though, could still use another veteran here, especially if Ameer Abdullah‘s injury history continues to force passing-down specialist Theo Riddick — himself a season-ending injury casualty last season — into the backfield. That said, the Lions are a candidate to re-sign Anquan Boldin, which would negate this path.
  • Bears — Also an interesting match despite the visit, Chicago has lost some marquee receiving weapons in recent years. Brandon Marshall made another franchise regret a trade in 2015, and Alshon Jeffery‘s defection to the Eagles leaves the Bears in transition mode here. Kevin White‘s rampant injury struggles don’t make the former top-10 pick a safe bet either, leaving Cameron Meredith as their de facto WR1. But the Bears signed both Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton. While neither can match Cruz at his best, and both did not thrive in their contract years, but Chicago adding both may make the ex-Giant superfluous and create some interesting debates on which wideouts to shuttle to special teams.

Which of these teams do you think would be the best fit for the would-be eighth-year veteran? Who did we leave off that you think would make for a logical destination? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

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Browns Claim Chris Barker, Waive Gabe Wright

  • The Browns have claimed offensive lineman Chris Barker off waivers from the Patriots and waived defensive lineman Gabe Wright. Barker, whom the Patriots cut Thursday, appeared in six of their games from 2013-15. Wright, a fourth-round pick of the Lions in 2015, was in and out of the Cleveland organization last year after joining its practice squad in early September. He ultimately suited up for five of the Browns’ games and picked up four tackles.

Browns Sign Caleb Brantley

The Browns announced Friday that they have signed sixth-round defensive lineman Caleb Brantley, the seventh member of their 10-player draft class to ink his rookie deal.

[RELATED: Browns Sign Myles Garrett]

Caleb Brantley (Vertical)

While most low-round selections aren’t particularly noteworthy, that’s not the case with Brantley. Soon after the Browns used the 185th pick on the ex-Florida Gator, general manager Sashi Brown acknowledged that Brantley might not play a down for the team. At the time, Brantley was facing an assault charge for an incident that occurred in Gainesville, Fla., last month. Brantley was alleged to have punched a woman in a bar, causing dental injuries, but the charge against him was dropped Wednesday on account of “insufficient evidence,” and it turns out he was actually defending himself against an assault.

Now that he’s officially a member of the Browns, Brantley could prove to be a late-round steal for the club. Brantley had the potential to go as high as Round 2 before his legal troubles, after all, and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote prior to the draft that he has the talent to become a “defensive force.”

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Browns Sign No. 1 Overall Pick Myles Garrett

Myles Garrett is officially a member of the Browns. The No. 1 overall pick has signed his rookie deal, according to a team announcement. Myles Garrett Browns

As dictated by his slot, Garrett’s four-year deal is worth $30.412MM with a hefty signing bonus of $20.258MM. The rookie will be well-compensated, but he’ll also be one of the position’s best bargains over the next four years if he is anywhere near as good as evaluators believe him to be. The market for defensive ends is presently sky-high with contracts exceeding $15MM per year for top earners like Muhammad Wilkerson, J.J. WattOlivier Vernon, and Jason Pierre-Paul.

The deal includes offset language, a source tells Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter). This means the Browns can save some money if they wind up releasing the No. 1 pick at some point during his rookie deal. In that (unlikely) event, the Browns would get out of some of their obligation if Garrett’s signs with a new club. For example, if Garrett has $4MM in guaranteed money left on his contract at the time of his release and he signs with a new club on a $1MM deal, the Browns will only be on the hook for $3MM, with the new team making up the difference.

Garrett was the consensus top prospect in the 2017 draft for months, but the Browns tried to throw the football world a curve by giving some reporters the impression that UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky was a consideration on draft day. Ultimately, the Browns made the selection that was widely seen as a no-brainer. Garrett is believed to be about as much of a can’t-miss prospect as you can get in the draft and all signs are pointing to a Pro Bowl career in his future.

Garrett figures to be a Week 1 starter for the Browns at defensive end with second-year DE Emmanuel Ogbah at the other bookend.

Pats, Jason McCourty Had “Mutual Interest”

After the Titans released cornerback Jason McCourty in mid-April, speculation abounded that he’d join twin brother and Patriots safety Devin McCourty in New England. Instead, Jason McCourty ultimately inked a deal Tuesday with the Browns. However, it seems the Patriots at least kicked the tires on signing McCourty.

Jason McCourty (Vertical)

“I think there was definitely mutual interest, but to be honest, the Patriots are kind of set at cornerback,” McCourty told NFL Network on Thursday (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). “They have a lot of talent in that room. There really wasn’t room for me. Me and Dev talked about that and that’s just the way of the league. I’m excited about the opportunity I have in Cleveland to work with those guys.”

It’s unclear when the Pats showed interest in the 29-year-old McCourty, though they may have viewed him as a fallback option in the event of a Malcolm Butler trade. It appeared earlier this offseason that New England would send Butler to the Saints for draft-pick compensation, potentially the 32nd overall choice, but that never came to fruition. And with Butler still around to serve as one of the Patriots’ top corners, joining big-money offseason signing Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe, there wasn’t a clear fit for McCourty.

While playing with Devin McCourty would’ve been a “dream come true,” Jason McCourty instead looks primed to team with Joe Haden as one of the Browns’ starting corners in 2017. Since signing with the Browns, though, McCourty has indicated that he’d be willing to play free safety (via Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com). Cleveland’s penciled-in No. 1 option there is Ed Reynolds, who started in seven of 10 appearances last season and ranked a respectable 45th among Pro Football Focus’ 90 qualified safeties.

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