Tramon Williams

Cardinals Sign CB Tramon Williams

Late Sunday night, the Cardinals added a cornerback to the mix. Tramon Williams has been signed to a one-year deal, per a club announcement. Williams joins the team just hours after cornerback Ronald Zamort suffered a season-ending ACL tear. Tramon Williams (vertical)

[RELATED: Cardnals Sign Philip Wheeler]

Interestingly, Zamort was practicing with the first team last week as Justin Bethel recovered from a minor knee injury, so it seems like the relatively unknown second-year player from Western Michigan leapfrogged Brandon Williams on the depth chart. With that in mind, Bethel and Tramon Williams may be the frontrunners for the right to start opposite of Patrick Peterson.

T. Williams, 34, spent the first nine years of his career with the Packers before joining the Browns last season. He has been remarkably durable over his ten NFL seasons, missing only five games in total. The traditional stats, the advanced stats, and the naked eye test all indicate that he’s not as sharp as he was in his prime with Green Bay, but he could still be a difference maker for a Cardinals team in need of cornerback depth.

The Cardinals also met with cornerback Brandon Flowers in July, but they might not have room for him after adding Williams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Meet With CB Tramon Williams

Former Browns cornerback Tramon Williams is flying to Arizona for a visit with the Cardinals, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The get-together comes on the heels of a meeting with Brandon Flowers on Wednesday. Tramon Williams (vertical)

[REL,ATED: Cardinals Meet With CB Brandon Flowers]

Williams started 22 games over his two seasons in Cleveland. Last year, he appeared in 12 games (seven starts) and he finished 2016 with 36 tackles, five passes defended, and one interception – his lowest totals since 2007. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus also indicated that he has lost a step. He finished out as PFF’s No. 73 cornerback out of 111 qualified players.

Williams can’t offer the same version of himself that we saw with the Packers earlier in his career, but he can still provide the Cardinals with some veteran know-how in the secondary. He’s probably being looked at as a backup since coach Bruce Arians indicated that Flowers was not being evaluated as a starter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Washington, Williams, Chung

Daryl Washington hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2013, but a potential comeback attempt got some hope following his reinstatement in April. Now, the 30-year-old isn’t only focused on making it back to the league, but he’s focused on becoming a dominant force.

“[NFL executive Adolpho Birch] asked me, ‘How you know I’m not going to see your face again and you’re not going to be in the same situation?’” Washington told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “I said, ‘Adolpho Birch, next time you’re going to see me is if you’re at my Hall of Fame speech.’”

In fact, Washington has even outlined how the entire comeback attempt will play out. The Dallas native wants to sign with the Cowboys, win the Comeback Player of the Year award, earn a Pro Bowl birth, and lead his team to a Super Bowl championship.

“I think that star will be on my helmet real soon and it’s going to be a great moment, man,” he said.

“You’ve got to have your mind in a positive place, say ‘I can do this.’ In my mind, I already know I can do it. I don’t know if that’s pride, ego, cockiness, but it’s confidence for me. I know I can play to the best of my abilities. Football is easy. Life is challenging.”

Let’s take a look at some other notes on this Saturday afternoon:

  • Meanwhile, free agent defensive back Tramon Williams said he’s willing to play multiple positions if it means he could join a contender. “The team I’m looking for is stable and wants to win,” he told SiriusXM NFL Radio (via Twitter). “I’m ready to help a team at cornerback or safety.”
  • Williams also indicated that he was ready to give up on the Browns during the 2016 season. “There was a point during the season last year where I wanted to be released,” he said. The 34-year-old appeared in 12 games (seven starts) last season, compiled 36 tackles, five passes defended, and one interception – his lowest totals since 2007.
  • Patriots safety Patrick Chung was given “a chance” to earn an additional $800K in incentives this upcoming season, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (via Twitter). This will now bring the veteran’s potential incentives total to $1.7MM. Chung, who has two years remaining on his contract, compiled 91 tackles in 16 starts for New England last season.

Checking In On The Cornerback Market

As the league has grown increasingly pass-happy, and as the rules have evolved in a way that favors quarterbacks and wideouts, the importance of the cornerback position has never been higher. Over the course of the offseason, we ranked the best available free agents at each position, and five of our top ten corners remain unsigned. Of course, after the initial wave of free agency is over, teams generally turn their attention to the draft and will circle back to the free agent pool if necessary over the summer months.

Darrelle Revis

The group of cornerbacks still available is headlined by Darrelle Revis, whose performance fell off a cliff last season and who was released by the Jets earlier this year. Almost three weeks ago, we heard that two unidentified teams were interested in Revis, but neither club was willing to pay him more than the $6MM he’s earning from the Jets. Because Revis’ deal with New York contained offset language, if he signs for $6MM or less, his new club would essentially be getting his services for free, which certainly would not sit well with the prideful Revis. The two teams that expressed interest in Revis were not optimistic that they would sign him, but it’s difficult to imagine Revis sitting out 2017 entirely. He’s bound to get a job somewhere, and perhaps he will ultimately return to the Patriots, as was speculated back in March.

The next player on our list, Brandon Flowers, was let go by the Chargers several days before the start of free agency in a cost-cutting move. Flowers, 31, signed a four-year deal with the Bolts prior to the 2015 season, a deal that included $20.5MM in guaranteed money. That contract was a reward for his strong 2014 campaign in San Diego, when he collected 52 tackles, 10 passes defended, and three interceptions. He did not reach that level of play in the following two seasons, though he played in only six games last year due to a concussion. He has always been a fundamentally-sound corner, so even if he has lost a step or two, he could still be a useful part of someone’s DB rotation. The Steelers checked in on him soon after his release, and the two sides could reconvene in the coming months.

Like all of the players in this post, Alterraun Verner did not reach the end of his last contract before becoming a free agent. The Bucs released Verner in February, and immediately thereafter, Verner himself said that four or five teams had reached out to him. That may be true, but there have been no independent reports of interest in Verner since his release. The UCLA product has been quite durable during his seven-year career, but he saw his playing time wane dramatically over the past two seasons. He started just three games in 2016, tying a career low, and only appeared in 22.8% of Tampa Bay’s defensive plays. Still just 28, Verner will not command the same type of money he did when he inked a four-year, $25.5MM pact with the Bucs in 2014, but he never seemed to play to his potential in Tampa Bay, and it’s possible that a change of scenery could reinvigorate him.

Alterraun Verner (Vertical)

There have been no reports of interest in former Packer Sam Shields since he was released by Green Bay earlier this year. Sadly, Shields suffered his second concussion in a nine-month span during the Packers’ Week 1 contest in 2016, and he never made it back to the field last season. He is only 29 and is immensely talented, but it does not appear as if the league has much confidence in his ability to rebound from his concussion issues. He previously stated that he has no intention of retiring, so hopefully he can convince someone to take a chance on his upside, even if it’s on a one-year pact for the veteran minimum.

Tramon Williams is the oldest of this group of corners, and at age 34, it’s fair to wonder what he has left in the tank He played in only 12 games (seven starts) for the Browns last season, and he finished 2016 with 36 tackles, five passes defended, and one interception – his lowest totals since 2007. Plus, Pro Football Focus’ metrics graded him as just the 73rd-best corner out of 111 qualified players. He was very good for a very long time for the Packers, but while he may be able to hang on for another year or two, his playing career appears just about over.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Defense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Dwight Freeney
  2. Elvis Dumervil
  3. Chris Long
  4. Mario Williams
  5. Connor Barwin
  6. Paul Kruger
  7. Trent Cole
  8. Erik Walden
  9. Jason Jones
  10. Darryl Tapp
  11. Devin Taylor
  12. Eugene Sims
  13. Howard Jones
  14. Wallace Gilberry
  15. Sam Acho

The pass rushing market has been completely depleted during the first week of free agency, as 14 of our original top 15 edge players have now been franchised, signed, or, in the case of DeMarcus Ware, retired. As such, a 37-year-old with 15 NFL seasons under his belt is now the best pass rusher on the market. Dwight Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Freeney can still help out a club on the cheap.Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

Three players on this list — Elvis Dumervil, Connor Barwin, and Eugene Sims — were released by their respective clubs last week, meaning they won’t count against the compensatory formula if and when they’re signed. Dumervil, now 33, was hampered by injuries last season but still earned strong pass-rushing marks from Pro Football Focus. Barwin, meanwhile, wasn’t a good fit in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense, but he should flourish if he signs with a team running a 3-4 look. So far, he’s met with the Bengals (who use a 4-3) and Rams (3-4).

Chris Long has already indicated he won’t be returning to the Patriots, indicating he wants to join a roster where he’ll earn more playing time. Erik Walden, too, won’t re-sign with his 2016 club (the Colts), but he has taken a visit with the division rival Titans. Further down the list, Howard Jones has also met with at least one club, as he was hosted by the Jets on Tuesday. Jones, 27, is recovering from a torn ACL, but did post five sacks in five starts last season.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Johnathan Hankins
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Jared Odrick
  4. Vance Walker
  5. Sen’Derrick Marks
  6. Ricky Jean-Francois
  7. Roy Miller
  8. Al Woods
  9. Tony McDaniel
  10. Cullen Jenkins
  11. Frostee Rucker
  12. Cam Thomas
  13. John Jenkins
  14. Tyson Jackson
  15. Tyson Alualu

Although top-flight players such as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have already been signed, the crop of interior defenders remains strong at the top. The buzz around Johnathan Hankins has been virtually non-existent, as the only club that’s been even tangentially linked to the 25-year-old is the Redskins. He’s one of the youngest free agents on the market, and therefore is probably looking for a massive payday. But the lack of interest around Hankins may be an indication that he’s simply asking for too much money.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

The same issue could be surrounding Dontari Poe, although he’s not wanting for meetings around the league. He’s visited with the Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, while the 49ers and Raiders also reportedly have some level of interest. Clubs may have concerns about Poe’s lingering back issues, and he might have to accept a one-year deal in order to prove he’s healthy and willing to provide full effort.

The remaining defensive interior players are mostly over-30 veterans, with names such as Tony McDaniel, Cullen Jenkins, Frostee Rucker, and Tyson Jackson still looking for new deals. While most of these guys can still play, they may have to wait awhile — possibly into the summer — before signing on with their next club. Jared Odrick (Patriots) and Vance Walker (Bears) have both taken visits, but the most intriguing lineman here may be Sen’Derrick Marks, who offers a good amount of pass rush from the interior.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Defense

NFL free agency gets underway on Thursday and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. Here is our updated outlook for each defensive and special teams position.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as franchised players aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for this offseason:

Edge defender:

  1. Nick Perry
  2. Jabaal Sheard
  3. John Simon
  4. DeMarcus Ware
  5. Lorenzo Alexander
  6. Andre Branch
  7. Julius Peppers
  8. Charles Johnson
  9. Datone Jones
  10. Dwight Freeney
  11. Chris Long
  12. Mario Williams
  13. Paul Kruger
  14. Courtney Upshaw
  15. Jarvis Jones

Now that Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram, and Jason Pierre-Paul have all been assigned the franchise tag, Nick Perry stands as the top edge defender on the free agent market, and is now in a position to cash in. The Packers opted against the franchise tender for the 26-year-old Perry, so he’ll hit the open market following a career year which saw him post 11 sacks."<strong

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among players with youth still on their side, Datone Jones figures to interest clubs thanks to his versatility, as he can vacillate between end and linebacker, while fellow former first-round pick Jarvis Jones is solid against the run. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. Charles Johnson, meanwhile, looks like a good bet to return to the Panthers, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Calais Campbell
  2. Johnathan Hankins
  3. Brandon Williams
  4. Dontari Poe
  5. Chris Baker
  6. Bennie Logan
  7. Nick Fairley
  8. Alan Branch
  9. Jared Odrick
  10. Karl Klug
  11. Terrell McClain
  12. Lawrence Guy
  13. Stacy McGee
  14. Stephen Paea
  15. Sylvester Williams
    Honorable mention: Paul Soliai

Calais Campbell is the best overall player among interior defenders, and though he’s entering his age-31 season and may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe, Campbell will still be highly-sought after as he searches for his last substantial payday Campbell’s agent met with the Cardinals last week, but other speculative fits for the veteran defender include the Broncos, Raiders, Ravens, Colts, and Titans."<strong

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Karl Klug), and run stoppers (Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. After looking at offense, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

[RELATED: Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense]

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Chandler Jones
  2. Melvin Ingram
  3. Jason Pierre-Paul
  4. Nick Perry
  5. Jabaal Sheard
  6. James Harrison
  7. John Simon
  8. DeMarcus Ware
  9. Lorenzo Alexander
  10. Andre Branch
  11. Julius Peppers
  12. Charles Johnson
  13. Datone Jones
  14. Mario Addison
  15. Dwight Freeney

The Cardinals have already made it abundantly clear that Chandler Jones will see the franchise tag this offseason, and Melvin Ingram and Jason Pierre-Paul are also candidates to be tagged by the Chargers and Giants, respectively. If the latter two are able to hit the open market unfettered, however, they both figure to break the bank. Ingram, Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 edge defender, could be a fit for both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, while JPP will be looking for a long-term commitment after signing consecutive one-year deals.Chandler Jones (vertical)

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among the players with youth still on their side, Packers edge defenders Nick Perry and Datone Jones figure to interest different clubs, as Perry is a better match for a 3-4 defense while Jones needs to restart his career as a 4-3 defensive end. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. James Harrison and Charles Johnson, meanwhile, look like good bets to return to Steelers and Panthers, respectively, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Kawann Short
  2. Calais Campbell
  3. Johnathan Hankins
  4. Brandon Williams
  5. Dontari Poe
  6. Chris Baker
  7. Bennie Logan
  8. Nick Fairley
  9. Alan Branch
  10. Jared Odrick
  11. Karl Klug
  12. Terrell McClain
  13. Lawrence Guy
  14. Earl Mitchell
  15. Stacy McGee

Unlike the edge defender market, the 2017 cadre of interior defensive lineman shouldn’t be overly affected by the franchise tender. Head coach Ron Rivera recently confessed the Panthers will “probably” have to use the tag on Kawann Short, but the rest of the defensive tackles listed here should be able to hit the open market. Of the remaining defenders, Campbell is the best overall player, but given that he’s entering his age-31 season, he may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Earl Mitchell), and run stoppers (Karl Klug, Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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Browns Release QB Josh McCown, CB Tramon Williams

We can now add another name to the list of free agent quarterbacks. Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that the Browns have released veteran signal-caller Josh McCown. Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com reports (via Twitter) that the team will also be releasing veteran cornerback Tramon Williams.

Josh McCown (vertical)McCown, 37, will now be looking to join the eighth team of career, as Garafolo notes that the quarterback is hoping to continue playing next season.

“We appreciate the Browns making this move now so Josh has a chance to catch on with another team,’‘ agent Mike McCartney told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “Josh plans to continue his playing career.”

The 14-year veteran was solid this past season in his five games (three starts), completing 54.5-percent of his passes for 1,100 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions. McCown was even better in 2015, throwing for 12 touchdowns and only four picks. The move isn’t particularly surprising, as the organization has been connected to a number of quarterbacks via the draft or trade. Releasing the veteran will also erase his nearly $5MM cap hit, leaving the organization with a bit more than $600K in dead cap.

McCown would be a solid choice for teams seeking a veteran backup quarterback. ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak suggests (via Twitter) that the Bills could be a destination, especially if they’re able to get rid of Tyrod Taylor. Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post even says (via Twitter) the Broncos could be an option if the team opts to sign a “mentor.”

Following eight productive seasons with the Packers, Williams signed a three-year, $21MM contract with the Browns prior to the 2015 season. After starting 15 games during his first year in Cleveland, the 33-year-old only played in 12 games (seven starts) this past season. The veteran finished the campaign with 36 tackles, five passes defended, and one interception – his lowest totals since the 2007 season. Releasing the veteran will save the organization nearly $7MM.

In total, Grossi estimates that the two moves will save the Browns nearly $11.3MM in cap space (Twitter link). Former agent Joel Corry tweets that the Browns will now have around $105MM in cap space this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2016 NFL Trade Deadline Primer

The 2016 NFL trade deadline is just hours away. This is the last chance of the season for contending teams to deal for a key piece for the playoff push and final opportunity for rebuilding clubs to make a future-minded deal. This year, there are a number of players who have been mentioned in trade rumors that could be changing jerseys between now and the 4pm ET/3pm CT deadline.

Naturally, cap room will be as much of a factor for teams as their positional needs. As Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter links) outlines, some teams have a great deal of space to work with while others have very little. The Browns, 49ers, Jaguars, and Titans all have enough cap space to acquire just about any contract. The Chargers, Rams, and Vikings, meanwhile, all have less than $1MM of room to work with.

Historically, the NFL trade deadline hasn’t brought a ton of action, but yesterday we saw a surprise blockbuster go down when the Patriots traded linebacker Jamie Collins to the Browns. We just might be in store for more major news today.

Here’s a rundown of the big names that have been mentioned in trade rumors over the past couple of weeks:

NFL Trade Deadline 2016 (vertical)

Browns OT Joe Thomas: Thomas, a lifelong member of the Browns, has made it clear that he does not want to be traded. Coach Hue Jackson flatly said that the tackle would not be dealt between now and the deadline. Still, rival GMs aren’t so sure that top exec Sashi Brown won’t pull the trigger on a deal anyway. Joe Thomas (vertical)

The Browns remain winless and it only makes sense that the team would explore dealing Thomas for draft considerations. However, the Browns already have quite a stockpile and they even drew from that surplus yesterday to acquire linebacker Jamie Collins from the Patriots. All month long, there has been talk of Cleveland selling off its parts with an eye on 2017 and beyond. Now, one has to wonder if A. they are still inclined to sell and B. they could even look to acquire name players this afternoon.

The Giants have expressed interest in Thomas, but they get the impression that Cleveland is going to hold on to him. The Vikings, Colts, Seahawks, Cardinals, Broncos, and Patriots could also use some help up front, but it’s not clear which of those clubs have reached out. Previous reports have indicated that the Browns were seeking a second-round choice for the veteran, but teams might have to sweeten the pot further if they are truly leaning towards keeping him.

Browns CB Joe Haden: Teams are reportedly scouting Haden in advance of the deadline. Once regarded as one of the league’s best young corners, Haden has been slowed by injuries in recent years. Any team that would take on Haden and his considerable salary wants to know exactly where he stands with his ankle, hamstring, and other assorted maladies.

At the midway point of the season, Pro Football Focus has Haden ranked as the 29th best corner in the NFL. That indicates Haden is an above-average starter, but not an elite player at the position. Haden is in year two of his five-year, $67.5MM extension and a cornerback-needy team like the Dolphins could explore a deal. But, as with Thomas, it’s not clear if the Browns are willing to sell. Haden is under contract through 2019 and won’t turn 28 until April. There’s not much he can do for the Browns in 2016, but he could still be a vital piece going forward.

In related news, the Browns are reportedly open to trading fellow corner Tramon Williams. The Packers are thin at cornerback and a reunion would make a lot of sense.

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Browns Discussed Trading Tramon Williams

The Browns have discussed trading cornerback Tramon Williams, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Williams, who joined the Browns on a three-year deal prior to the 2015 campaign, is signed through 2017.Tramon Williams (vertical)

There has been plenty of trade buzz around star cornerback Joe Haden, but talk of a Williams deal is brand new. Williams would represent a much lower-cost contract and would require a lot less in the way of compensation. Williams’ deal has a $6.2MM base salary for 2016 with a step down to $5.7MM next season. However, he can be released prior to June 1 with relatively little financial penalty.

Through six games this year (three starts), Williams has 22 total tackles, one fumble recovery, and one interception. Pro Football Focus, meanwhile, ranks him in the bottom 20% of all qualified cornerbacks this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.