Free Agency Moves
To say that the Cleveland Browns have had an interesting off-season would be an understatement. But we’ll start with the free agency moves that may have made the Browns a playoff contender this upcoming season.
There is no doubt that the biggest addition that Cleveland made to its roster was adding former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to an offense that needed a spark. Bowe has all the talent in the world if he can get someone under center that can consistently get the ball to him, and should that happen, his career should be back on track in a hurry.
Graphic via tohikymyvide
The Browns may have gotten that quarterback in Josh McCown, who despite having his struggles, has shown signs of being able to be a solid starter. The signing of McCown and Bowe could take away some of the uncertainties on this Cleveland offense, as there were plenty of them.
Defensively, the Browns also made a splash by picking up cornerback Tramon Williams from Green Bay and also added defensive lineman Randy Starks. Simply put, Cleveland had one of the best free agency runs of any team in the league this year.
Assessing Cleveland’s Draft
Cleveland was the worst in the league last season in terms of being able to stop the run, so they tried to solve that issue by taking defensive lineman Danny Shelton with their No. 12 selection. Shelton was the pick that made the most sense, and luckily, Browns management didn’t overthink it like they’ve done in recent years.
The franchise chose to go to the other side of the line with offensive lineman Cameron Erving at No. 19, and while that wasn’t the most pressing need, it’s an intriguing pick to watch in terms of seeing how he develops.
Most experts wonder if Cleveland added enough firepower on offense during the draft, but given what they added in free agency, there should be more than enough for the Browns to work with this year.
Other Offseason Notes
While the positive additions were all well and good for Cleveland, most of the focus was on the negatives. Wide receiver Josh Gordon was suspended through the 2015 season, and then there was Johnny Manziel checking himself into rehab. Those two developments weren’t exactly great for the Browns.
Luckily, it does appear that Manziel has learned a few things and he may be able to factor into the quarterback race. McCown should be the day one starter, but if Manziel has progressed beyond his partying ways, he obviously has loads of potential.
To be honest, few off-seasons are quiet for this Browns franchise, so perhaps all of this was to be expected. Still, Manziel’s future is a huge focus given how much Cleveland has invested in him.
Looking Ahead to Cleveland’s 2015 Season
We should learn more about this Browns club when it takes the field for its first pre-season game against the Washington Redskins on August 13. While you can’t tell everything from pre-season, it will be interesting to watch how Cleveland progresses from game one to the last pre-season game of the exhibition slate against the Chicago Bears.
Then the real fun gets underway when the Browns head to New York to take on the Jets to open up the regular season. From there, it will surely be an interesting ride for a Cleveland team that always finds a way to make things entertaining.
Browns fans are just hoping that the form of entertainment they see this season is more positive than negative.
Graphic via rantsports