Additions: Justin Tuggle, Alvin Bailey
Re-signs: Tank Carder
Departures: Alex Mack, Tashaun Gipson, Mitchell Schwartz, Travis Benjamin, Johnny Manziel, Randy Starks, Johnson Bademosi
Oof. A rough start for the Hue Jackson era.
Sitting on roughly $40 million in cap space for 2016, the Cleveland Browns faceplanted at the starting line of free agency. Unable to resign any of their top-four free agents, Hue Jackson was also unable to woo former Bengals Marvin Jones or Mohamed Sanu to play for him in 2016; each signing with NFC teams.
The Browns also waived Johnny Manziel for numerous off the field incidents including domestic violence allegations. With only Josh McCown and Austin Davis under contract for the next two seasons, Cleveland will be looking for not only an upgrade at the position, but their quarterback of the future.
Reports are out that 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick wants to play for Hue Jackson in Cleveland, and is actively seeking a trade. After leading the ‘Niners to a Super Bowl and NFC Championship game, the former Wolfpack signal caller saw his play greatly regress in 2014 and 2015. That was partly due to his offensive line being in shambles and losing coaches John Harbaugh and Greg Roman. However, Kaepernick has shown that he reads defenses poorly and can’t see the whole field from the pocket.
While seeing this exodus from Cleveland may be concerning for Browns fans, it may actually be a blessing in disguise. The willingness to let top players walk could hopefully be a sign that the Browns front office are actually being patient for once. By giving Hue Jackson the chance to build his own team, he won’t suffer the same fate as Chudzinski and Pettine before him and get fired for not building a contender in year one.
Notable remaining FAs: None
Next: Baltimore Ravens