2012 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Cleveland Browns Free Agents:
- Frostee Rucker, DE, Bengals. Age: 28. -- Signed with Browns (5 years)
- Juqua Thomas-Parker, DE, Eagles. Age: 34. -- Signed with Browns (1 year)
2012 NFL Free Agent Rankings Coming Soon
Divisional Rival History:
D'Qwell Jackson, ILB, Browns. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Browns (5 years, $42.5 million; $19 million guarantee)
D'Qwell Jackson is really good if he's healthy. He played in just six total games in 2009 and 2010, but he dominated in 2011 because he was finally able to stay on the field.
Phil Dawson, K, Browns. Age: 37.
Franchised by Browns
Phil Dawson missed a couple of game-winners in the middle of the season, but he finished 24-of-29, including 7-of-8 from 50-plus.
Mike Adams, FS, Browns. Age: 31.
Signed with Broncos
Mike Adams is a serviceable free safety. The Browns could upgrade him, but they have way too many other things to focus on this offseason.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns. Age: 26.
Signed with Chiefs (1 year, $3 million)
Peyton Hillis is a tough runner with good pass-catching ability when healthy, but the problem is that he's always banged up. He's just way too unreliable, and his fumbling issues don't help.
Update: Hillis reportedly has thought about quitting football to become a CIA agent. Umm... what? Teams will definitely question his dedication.
Eric Steinbach, G, Browns. Age: 32.
Eric Steinbach was once regarded as one of the better guards in the NFL, but he struggled in 2009 and 2010, and then missed all of 2011 with a back injury that required surgery. Perhaps he can rebound and become an effective player again, but that probably won't happen.
- Dimitri Patterson, CB, Browns. Age: 29. -- Signed with Browns (3 years, $16 million; $6 million guaranteed)
- Tony Pashos, OT, Browns. Age: 32.
- Brian Schaefering, DT, Browns. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Browns
- Jayme Mitchell, DE, Browns. Age: 28. -- Signed with Buccaneers
- Alex Smith, TE, Browns. Age: 30. -- Re-signed with Browns (1 year)
- Titus Brown (RFA), ILB, Browns. Age: 26.
- Steve Vallos, G, Browns. Age: 28.
- Artis Hicks, OT, Browns. Age: 33. -- Signed with Dolphins (1 year, $2 million)
- Oniel Cousins, OT, Browns. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Browns
- John Greco, G, Browns. Age: 27.
-- Re-signed with Browns
The old Browns have beaten the new Browns in the past eight matchups.
Carson Palmer was 9-3 lifetime against the Browns. Andy Dalton is now 2-0.
Pittsburgh has won 22 of 23 against Cleveland.
Features to be Posted This Offseason:
More 2011 NFL Offseason Pages:
- 2012 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)
- Detailed season preview
- Fantasy football projections
- Positional rankings
- Daily updates on free-agent signings
2012 NFL Offseason Pages
2017 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 12
2016 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 11
NFL Free Agents
NFL Picks - Feb. 7
2016 NBA Mock Draft - Feb. 2
Fantasy Football Rankings - Jan. 15
2012 NFL Draft Grade: C-
Goals Entering the 2012 NFL Draft:
No one wants to play for the Browns, per certain reports. Whether you believe them or not, there's no denying that this Cleveland team doesn't appear as though it's going anywhere. There's no franchise quarterback, while the offense as a whole lacks play-makers. The 2012 NFL Draft will be all about bolstering the scoring unit.
2012 NFL Draft Accomplishments:
There's nothing worse than targeting one player in a certain spot and then panicking when that prospect is plucked off the board a selection or two earlier. That's exactly what happened to the Browns at No. 22. They were set to take Kendall Wright, but then had to reach for Brandon Weeden when Tennessee took him at No. 20. Mike Holmgren did not have a Plan B.
If Weeden can be a franchise quarterback, this will be a good draft class. However, that's unlikely. He'll be 29 soon, and by the time he figures things out, he'll be in his 30s. He'll be 33 when his first contract is up. Oh, and then there's the dubious history of Big XII quarterbacks flopping in the NFL. Weeden should not have been a first-round pick, and Cleveland must be heavily downgraded for that.
Some other choices didn't make much sense. Both John Hughes and Travis Benjamin were major reaches; the Hughes pick was particularly confusing because it didn't fill a need and failed to upgrade the offense. On the bright side, Trent Richardson will be a stud, while various late-round selections provided great value.
2012 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
3. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: A- Grade
This would be an A if Mike Holmgren wasn't duped into trading up to No. 3. Still, he gave up just a fourth-, a fifth- and a seventh-round pick for him, so I'm not going to penalize Cleveland very much. Trent Richardson is the right pick because he's the best player available and fills the greatest need. Colt McCoy was decent with Peyton Hillis before Hillis started dreaming about becoming a CIA agent, so maybe McCoy can become competent again.
22. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: F Grade
I gave the Eagles an F last year for drafting a 27-year-old guard, so I'm dishing out yet another F for a geriatric player. Brandon Weeden turns 29 soon. By the time his first contract is up, he'll be 33. As in, near the end of his career. This move reaks of panic; Cleveland really wanted Kendall Wright, and Mike Holmgren apparently did not know what to do once the Titans made the surprise selection.
37. Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California: C+ Grade
There were three receivers worth taking here, so the Browns selected... a right tackle? What? I like Mitchell Schwartz; he projects as a decent pro. But who the hell is Brandon Weeden going to throw to? And what about Cordy Glenn and Jonathan Martin?
87. John Hughes, DT, Cincinnati: Matt Millen Lonely Night Kielbasa Porn Grade
I mocked John Hughes in the seventh round. He wasn't above No. 249 on any major big board. He doesn't even fill a need. This is a terrible selection.
100. Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami: D Grade
Scouts Inc. had the highest grade on Travis Benjamin than anyone else, and they slotted him at No. 173. This is not the type of pick you make atop Round 4.
120. James-Michael Johnson, ILB, Nevada: B+ Grade
I mocked James-Michael Johnson here to the Browns at this very spot, so I can't exactly bash this pick. It's a good one. The Browns are lacking in depth at linebacker, and Johnson is a good range fit in the middle of Round 4.
160. Ryan Miller, G, Colorado: B- Grade
I thought the Browns would take Ryan Miller in the sixth round, so I think this is a bit high for him. The pick makes sense though. He fits the blocking scheme and will provide much-needed competition for Jason Pinkston, who was terrible last year.
204. Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas: A- Grade
Cleveland was expected to select two linebackers in the 2012 NFL Draft. Emmanuel Acho is a fine selection. He's versatile and should have gone a round earlier.
205. Billy Winn, DE/DT, Boise State: A+ Grade
Major steal. Billy Winn could have easily gone in the third round. I actually like Winn better as prospect better than Cleveland's third-round selection John Hughes.
245. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona: A+ Grade
I thought Trevin Wade would be a fourth-round pick. He was actually No. 79 on a major big board. This is great value and fills a need. The Browns need a No. 2 corner, and Wade should be able to compete for that job.
247. Brad Smelley, TE, Alabama: B+ Grade
The Browns don't need a tight end, but Brad Smelley provides a bit of value at the end of Round 7. Ben Watson will be a free agent next spring, so Cleveland needed a contingency plan at the position.
Another year, another playoff absence. Since the Browns reentered the league in 1999, they've made the playoffs only once (2002). They're the only team in the AFC North that doesn't have a franchise quarterback, so maybe that's the reason why. Fortunately, they'll have a chance to land Robert Griffin this April.
Browns cut DE Jayme Mitchell
Dolphins sign OT Artis Hicks
Broncos sign S Mike Adams
Browns sign DE Juqua Thomas-Parker
Browns re-sign OT Oniel Cousins
Browns re-sign CB Dimitri Patterson
Browns re-sign DT Brian Schaefering
Chiefs sign RB Peyton Hillis
Browns sign DE Frostee Rucker
Browns cut G Eric Steinbach
Browns re-sign TE Alex Smith
Browns re-sign G John Greco
Browns cut OT Tony Pashos
Browns franchise K Phil Dawson
Browns re-sign ILB D'Qwell Jackson
- Quarterback: There are a handful of Cleveland fans in denial about this, but Colt McCoy is not a franchise quarterback. The Browns will never be a perennial playoff contender until they acquire one. As mentioned, Robert Griffin could be theirs this April. Drafted Brandon Weeden
- Wide Receiver: The Browns' offense is so limited because they don't have a No. 1 receiver. Greg Little could be a nice secondary option down the road if he stops dropping passes. Cleveland could consider Alshon Jeffery or Kendall Wright with their second first-round selection. Drafted Travis Benjamin
- Right Tackle: Colt McCoy's not that talented, but he never had a chance because he was constantly running for his life. There are two major holes on Cleveland's offensive line. The most glaring one is at right tackle, where Tony Pashos surrendered seven sacks despite missing several weeks of action. Drafted Mitchell Schwartz
- Defensive End: Cleveland had only one player who could consistently pressure the quarterback - rookie Jabaal Sheard. Jayme Mitchell struggled immensely, so he'll need to be upgraded. Signed Frostee Rucker and Juqua Thomas-Parker
- Cornerback: Sheldon Brown is on his last legs, while fifth-round rookie Buster Skrine barely played last year. Skrine could develop into a solid cornerback, but Cleveland will still need depth (and a starter in case Skrine doesn't.) Re-signed Dimitri Patterson
- Outside Linebacker: Add in an inside linebacker if D'Qwell Jackson isn't re-signed. Chris Gocong was recently extended. He played OK at weakside linebacker last year. He could stay there, or move to the strong side depending on what the Browns do in free agency and the draft. Re-signed D'Qwell Jackson; drafted James-Michael Johnson
- Running Back: Peyton Hillis is as good as gone. Montario Hardesty can't stay healthy. The Browns need a talented running back to either complement Hardesty or replace him when he goes down again. Drafted Trent Richardson
- Two Guards: Make it two guards if Eric Steinbach, who is coming off back surgery, doesn't agree to take a pay cut to reduce his $6 million salary. Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao did a poor job last year. Drafted Ryan Miller
- Free Safety: Mike Adams is a serviceable starter, but he's a free agent. Cleveland could stand to upgrade him anyway.
- Defensive Tackle: Depth is needed behind Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin. The Browns are really thin there. Drafted John Hughes
- Kicker: Phil Dawson had some issues in the middle of the season, but he still drilled about 82 percent of his field goals. He's a free agent, however. Franchised Phil Dawson
2012 Cleveland Browns Analysis: The Browns are a complete mess. Their alleged franchise quarterback is a 29-year-old who comes from a conference that has produced dud signal-callers over the past several years. His only play-maker is a rookie running back, while the right side of his offensive line can't block. The defense, meanwhile, lost one of its top talents to what could be a season-long injury.
It's going to be another very long year in Cleveland. The good news is that if the Browns are terrible enough, Matt Barkley will be waiting in April.
Projection: 2-14 (4th in AFC North)
2012 Fantasy Football Rankings
More 2012 NFL Season Previews
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