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2014 NFL Offseason: Cleveland Browns

Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents

Cleveland Browns (Last Year: 4-12)

Season Summary:
The Browns actually had hope for a change. Brian Hoyer had been playing very well, but in typical Cleveland fashion, he was lost for the season with an injury. Now, it seems as though the Browns are in complete disarray. They fired their head coach after one year, as they had their sights set on Josh McDaniels, only to see McDaniels turn them down. It's stuff that Cleveland fans are used to, but this can all change if the team drafts a franchise quarterback at No. 4 overall.

Offseason Moves:
  • Browns sign WR Nate Burleson
  • Browns sign G Paul McQuistan
  • Chiefs sign CB Chris Owens
  • Bengals sign QB Jason Campbell
  • Browns sign WR Andrew Hawkins
  • Cowboys sign QB Brandon Weeden
  • Buccaneers sign G/OT Oniel Cousins
  • Browns sign RB Ben Tate
  • Browns sign TE Jim Dray
  • Browns cut QB Jason Campbell
  • Browns cut QB Brandon Weeden
  • Redskins sign G Shawn Lauvao
  • Browns sign S Donte Whitner
  • Broncos sign S T.J. Ward
  • Browns sign ILB Karlos Dansby
  • Browns re-sign K Billy Cundiff
  • Colts sign ILB D'Qwell Jackson
  • Browns cut WR Davone Bess
  • Browns transition tag C Alex Mack
  • Browns fire HC Rob Chudzinski

    Team Needs:
    1. New Ownership: What the hell are the Browns doing? Seriously. They brought in a CEO who hired a general manager, who then hired a coach and fired him after one year. The general manager chose a new coach, but then was fired after one year himself. The CEO was also dismissed. I guess this is what happens when a clueless owner with a dubious legal history is allowed to run the organization. The NFL needs to step in and get rid of Jimmy Haslam. He's an incompetent, disgraceful buffoon who has no business being in the league.

    2. Quarterback: Brian Hoyer played well in limited action, but he's not the long-term answer. The Browns need to find their first franchise quarterback. Perhaps they can do so by drafting Johnny Manziel No. 4, which most people seem to think will happen.

    3. Running Back: The Browns looked like fools when trading away Trent Richardson, but they apparently were geniuses all along. Still though, this team has nothing at running back. A second-round pick could be used on a back. Signed Ben Tate

    4. Wide Receiver: Brad Nessler dubbed Greg Little "Mr. Reliable" during a Thursday night broadcast. Nessler probably didn't watch any Cleveland games; otherwise he would've seen Little drop countless passes. Cleveland needs a new No. 2 wideout. A slot option must be acquired as well. Davone Bess' hands were even worse. I wonder if Nessler calls Bess "Mr. very Reliable." Signed Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson

    5. Two Inside Linebackers: D'Qwell Jackson has been released. Craig Robertson was awful this past season. Fortunately for the Browns, they'll have lots of options for inside linebackers on Day 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft. Signed Karlos Dansby

    6. Two Safeties: Re-signing or franchising T.J. Ward would fix one of the spots. The other must be an upgrade in free agency or the draft. Tashaun Gipson didn't play very well in 2013. Signed Donte Whitner

    7. Right Guard: Shawn Lauvao is a free agent, but he needed to be upgraded anyway. Both he and Oniel Cousins stunk it up at this position. Signed Paul McQuistan

    8. Center: Retaining stud center Alex Mack is a priority. He'll need to be re-signed. Transition tagged Alex Mack

    9. Cornerback: Buster Skrine isn't terrible, but there's room for improvement across from Joe Haden. Depth is needed here anyway.

    10. Kicker: Billy Cundiff is a free agent. Re-signed Billy Cundiff

    11. Punter: Spencer Lanning was just 28th in net punting last year.

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2014 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Karlos Dansby, ILB, Cardinals. Age: 32.
      Signed with Browns (4 years, $24 million; $14 million guaranteed)

      Karlos Dansby, who played all but five of Arizona's defensive snaps this past season, was a beast in his first year back with the Cardinals. A force in every facet of the game, Dansby earned himself a big contract. The only downside is that he'll be 33 in November.

    2. Donte Whitner, S, 49ers. Age: 29.
      Signed with Browns

      Donte Whitner gets into trouble for the occasional illegal hit, but he's still an excellent strong safety. He has missed only one game in the past four seasons.

    3. Ben Tate, RB, Texans. Age: 26.
      Signed with Browns (2 years, $7 million)

      Ben Tate suffered a season-ending injury prior to his rookie campaign in 2010, allowing Arian Foster to take over as Houston's primary running back. Had this never happened, Tate probably would've been an occasional Pro Bowler. Tate is a very talented runner, though he's not nearly as effective on third down as Foster happens to be. He's also injury-prone, which is why he's not rated higher.

    4. Andrew Hawkins (RFA), WR, Bengals. Age: 28.
      Signed with Browns (4 years, $13.6 million)

      Andrew Hawkins is a speedy receiver who is coming off a lost 2013 campaign in which he missed the first eight games with an injured hamstring.

    5. Paul McQuistan, G, Seahawks. Age: 31. -- Signed with Browns
    6. Nate Burleson, WR, Lions. Age: 33. -- Signed with Browns (1 year)
    7. Jim Dray, TE, Cardinals. Age: 27. -- Signed with Browns

    Cleveland Browns Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Alex Mack, C, Browns. Age: 28.
      Transition tagged by Browns (can match any offer)

      Alex Mack is a top-five NFL center in his prime. He needs to be paid accordingly.

    2. T.J. Ward, S, Browns. Age: 27.
      Signed with Broncos

      Known for knocking out Rob Gronkowski for the year with a torn ACL and MCL, T.J. Ward is a top safety. He thrives in run support and doesn't have any weaknesses. He won't be 28 until December.

    3. D'Qwell Jackson, ILB, Browns. Age: 30.
      Signed with Colts (4 years, $22 million)

      D'Qwell Jackson, 31 in September, has struggled in run support over the past few seasons, but has been strong in coverage. He has also applied solid pressure on the quarterback as a blitzer. Jackson can still play all three downs, so he should serve as a decent starter somewhere.

    4. Shawn Lauvao, G, Browns. Age: 26. -- Signed with Redskins (4 years, $17 million)
    5. Chris Owens, CB, Browns. Age: 27. -- Signed with Chiefs
    6. Billy Cundiff, K, Browns. Age: 34. -- Re-signed with Browns (1 year)
    7. Jason Campbell, QB, Browns. Age: 32. -- Signed with Bengals (1 year)
    8. Fozzy Whittaker, RB, Browns. Age: 25.
    9. Willis McGahee, RB, Browns. Age: 32.
    10. Oniel Cousins, G, Browns. Age: 30. -- Signed with Buccaneers (1 year)
    11. Davone Bess, WR, Browns. Age: 28.
    12. Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns. Age: 30. -- Signed with Cowboys (2 years)

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

    2014 NFL Mock Draft - April 16

    NFL Free Agents - April 16

    2015 NFL Mock Draft - April 10

    Fantasy Football Rankings - March 28

    2014 NBA Mock Draft - March 26

    NFL Picks - Feb. 2

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