The NFL finally ended the lockout after 130 days and this past week has been a rollercoaster of activity. Free agency got kicked off on Tuesday morning and news has been coming fast and furious all week. Many of the big name free agents have chosen new locations and none of them have chosen Cleveland. Irate fans have expressed their disapproval of the Browns inactivity (on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and the perception that the Browns are not trying to upgrade their roster. After some serious thought and positive thinking, I’m starting to buy into what Tom Heckert is doing. Believe it or not, the Browns have made some solid moves and look to be just getting started. Here’s a list of players the Browns have added so far.
Player Height Weight Age Previous Team
Usama Young 6’0″ 200 lbs 26 New Orleans
Notes: Young figures to step in at free safety with the departure of Abe Elam in free agency. An under-the-radar signing, this guy finally gets an opportunity to start after spending his first few seasons as a backup in the overcrowded Saints secondary.
Brandon Jackson 5’10” 216 lbs 25 Green Bay
Notes: I’m a big fan of this signing. While Jackson will only be the third string running back for the Browns, he does all the things required of a third-down back. He’s a strong blocker and pass catcher, and can fill in capably should Hillis or Hardesty go down due to injuries.
Brodrick Bunkley 6’2″ 306 lbs 27 Philadelphia
Notes: Acquired in a trade from Philly for a 2012 5th round pick, Bunkley has failed to meet expectations so far after a being a first round pick back in 2006. In Cleveland, he’ll get a fresh start and be able to rotate with Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin in the middle of the Browns defensive line. Nice depth addition.
John Greco 6’4″ 329 lbs 26 St. Louis
Notes: Acquired in a trade last night for a conditional 2012 7th round pick, Greco has been praised by scouts as being an underrated blocker and deserving of more playing time. He has a chance to step right into the starting lineup and his addition could result in the end of Eric Steinbach in Cleveland. Stay tuned.
Cleveland fans have been griping about the lack of activity from the Browns and I think it’s a result of being locked out for so long. Browns fans are some of the most impatient fans in the World and it’s a result of the consistent losing the team has experienced since coming back into the league in 1999. If I could say anything to Browns fans it would be this: Be patient and be realistic. The Browns are going to add more players this week via free agency and us fans are just going to have to be patient. I know people want to see the Browns make a big splash, but Tom Heckert and Mike Holmgren know what they are doing and they are slowly building the Browns into a contender. Expect the Browns to be competitive this season, but don’t expect them to be a playoff caliber team. Remember, they have a brand new coaching staff (again) and are rebuilding the roster that Mangini left his imprint all over. It’s going to take time and keeping a positive outlook towards the future is a must.