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Old 01-24-2014, 02:27 AM    (permalink
Iamcanadian
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This hire had better work out or the whole front office will have to be fired and we'll have to start all over, man just how bad can it get. I guess if they move up to the #2 spot in the draft and actually get a franchise QB and he turns out OK, we'll all forgive the mess the FO has led us through.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:35 AM    (permalink
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I actually like the Pettine hire, for once we actually have someone who is confident, aggressive, tough, and seems to know how to speak in public.

Banner and Lombardi are done for if this doesn't work out, which is probably why the process took so damn long. They want to see this thing out and if Pettine fails they will go down with the ship.

Trading up to 2 scares me but if you look at it as trading Trent Richardson and #4 for #2 then it isn't as bad. It's just scary knowing that at #4 you are guaranteed one of the top 3 QBs or Clowney.

I wouldn't be upset if we waited until the second if we missed out on our guy and took Jimmy G.
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:36 PM    (permalink
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I actually like the Pettine hire, for once we actually have someone who is confident, aggressive, tough, and seems to know how to speak in public.

Banner and Lombardi are done for if this doesn't work out, which is probably why the process took so damn long. They want to see this thing out and if Pettine fails they will go down with the ship.

Trading up to 2 scares me but if you look at it as trading Trent Richardson and #4 for #2 then it isn't as bad. It's just scary knowing that at #4 you are guaranteed one of the top 3 QBs or Clowney.

I wouldn't be upset if we waited until the second if we missed out on our guy and took Jimmy G.
I have no idea how the Pettine hire will turnout, I do know that he wasn't close to being the guy they wanted to hire, so that has to worry me. Obviously, nobody else wanted Pettine as their HC hire and it looks like it was a bit of desperation that led tohim being the choice, but who knows, just maybe we'll strike it rich by shear accident.

I agree that Banner and Lombardi are done if this hire doesn't work out.

I disagree that if you don't trade up we are guaranteed one of the top 3 QB's. If we don't trade up, some other QB desperate team will, which could easily mean that QB's go 1, 2 and 3 in the draft and we are left holding an empty bag again. IMO, it must be a QB or we will remain a laughing stock of the NFL.
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Old 03-27-2014, 01:16 AM    (permalink
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Just a few thoughts:

1.) All is quiet on the Alex Mack front. Itís clear his management overestimated their negotiating position. Talk of exploring the market, structuring the Browns out of the running, etc. The front office was perfect. Farmer knew he wielded the power. Short of a desperate general manager or poison pills, Mackís agents couldnít draft a sensible contract the Browns wouldnít match. To this point, Clevelandís cap space discouraged the first and the previous CBA outlawed the second. And now Mack canít drum up interest. As far as I know, heís gone untouched. A few rumors of the Colts and Ravens sniffing around, but nothing substantial. No one wants to waste their time.

From here, I wouldnít be surprised if both sides just dig in further. In all likelihood, Mackís management team will want to save face. Unless Mack wants to deescalate things, his camp can either demand a trade or refuse to sign the tender. Even faced with that prospect, the Browns hold considerable power. Right now, the Browns have around $30 million in cap space. Thatís counting Mackís $10 million transition tag. So that number, while large, is insignificant. Itís not handcuffing us. Furthermore, if the cap surges past the $140 million mark as projected in 2015, the Browns will have almost $60 million in space and one item that requires their immediate attention, which is a Joe Haden extension that could happen this off-season. And that $60 million figure doesnít even include possible releases or restructures. That could push their cap space in 2015 much closer to $75 million.

With between $60-75 million in cap space, and a need to spend to remain compliant with the new floor requirements, Cleveland can issue a credible threat in regards to franchising Mack, if Iím not mistaken. And it becomes even more credible if the Haden extension gets done. The $12+ million tag would be expensive and unprecedented for a center, but the Browns have the chips to make the bluff. Under that scenario, the Browns control Mackís rights until 2016 (when the cap hit becomes quite untenable) and he becomes an unrestricted free agent on the wrong side of 30. That impacts the contract he can expect. (Granted, he will have made about $22 million over the past two seasons, health permitting.)

It will be interesting to see how much pressure the front office puts on him. Or if thereís an attempt to strong-arm him into signing a long-term deal to remain a Brown.

2.) The Donte Whitner vs. T.J. Ward debate is intriguing and one Iíve gone back and forth on. While Whitner profiles as a better short-term fit in Pettineís defense, heís more expensive and older. Ward progressed during his tenure as a Brown. Itís impossible to predict just how long that trend wouldíve continued, or if it wouldíve continued at all, but itís a safe bet that Whitner will regress over the duration of his contract. It wouldíve been tempting to re-sign him (and live with having him further from the line of scrimmage at times) if the Browns ever had the option of finalizing at the $5.5 million per number.

3.) I havenít touched much of the 2014 NFL Draft in-depth, but I would be quite excited if Shazier fell to the Browns at No. 26. Donít know if he falls though. Regardless, this defense still needs another starter inside and Shazier profiles as a modern three-down linebacker. The kid is just dripping with potential and adds a lot of range to the second level. Plus, Iím almost positive a wide out with a first-round grade will still be available at No. 35. The receiver class is too deep.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:15 AM    (permalink
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I think Mack has run into the Graham factor, teams don't want to pay a player higher than the going rate for their position. However, I don't see them franchising Mack, that would cost them close to 12 million which is vastly above what most OC's make in the NFL. Cap space or not, it is cap suicide to overpay for a secondary position on a football team.

No doubt, the Browns are holding on to as much cap space as they are allowed till the QB position is settled enough to make us a competitive team, at least I hope that is the reason for such a large amount of cap space, I hope it isn't so the owner can just make more money.

At some point, Mack will come down in his demands and some team will meet his price, but you are right, he had unreasonable expectations about his worth. I'd be surprised if he resigns with the Browns but you never know. Few teams will have the money left to sign him this late in the FA process.
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:11 AM    (permalink
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I don't think Mack significantly impacts the team one way or the other. Meaning he is not the difference between 6-10 and 10-6. It would be nice to have him around for a rookie QB and for the sake of continuity on the o-line, but I couldn't tell you the center for any of the playoff teams.

If he stays great, if not there are centers to be found in the draft/FA, just look at all the teams passing on him.

In regards to picks #26, #35, it all depends on #4 so it's hard to speculate. I'll post some scenarios in the draft discussion.
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:27 PM    (permalink
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A good OLine impacts the team more significantly than anything else besides QB though I think. At least offensively. And to have a good offensive line we need some good players. And right now the only good player on the OLine we are lining up out there is Joe Thomas if Mack is gone. We have some hope in Mitch Schwartz bouncing back this year after a sophomore slump, he has the talent to be a very good RT or OG at the very least, but if we're gonna have a good Oline we need Mack or a decent replacement at center.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:45 PM    (permalink
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Well, generally speaking, OC's are a dime a dozen and great ones can be found as late as round 4. There are plenty of solid potential starting OC's in this year's draft, we just have to draft right????????
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:01 PM    (permalink
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Using generalities to attack or defend specific moves is somewhat reckless because each team faces their own set of unique circumstances.

Most teams wouldnít spend $10-12 million on a center. Thatís true. But teams arenít operating under identical conditions. Most teams donít sniff that kind of cap room. The Browns will because of constant turnover. There hasnít been a consistent pipeline of contributors coming through Cleveland. Few have warranted extending. Most teams canít afford to tie that much of their cap into multiple offensive linemen. The Browns donít have massive expenditures. Thereís not an expensive quarterback. Thereís not an expensive running back. Thereís not an expensive wide receiver. Thereís not an expensive pass rusher. (If I recall, Kruger will have a little over $5 million guaranteed remaining after this season, so heís not a cap fixture.) Haden is poised for an expensive extension. If that deal gets done, the Browns will have substantial investments in two of the five ďpremiumĒ positions. Offensive tackle and cornerback. And Joe Thomas can be cut or traded in 2015 and save an immediate $10 million if need be. Even if the Browns choose a quarterback with the fourth overall pick and develop him into a superstar, the cap wonít be impacted until 2018 or 2019. Josh Gordon is a free agent in 2016. Mingo is a free agent in 2017 in the event that he develops into a terror. And thereís not a running back on the roster that demands an above-average contract either. In short, the Browns have a lot of cost-controlled assets right now, but still need to spend to remain compliant with the required cap floor. If Haslam is hoarding cap space in an effort to get rich, heís going to be quite disappointed. At best, not spending shaves a few percentage points off expenses and saves a few million, but undermines the larger investment.

Iím not advocating extending Mack for $10-12 million per. Iím talking about the next two seasons. Treat him as an expensive stopgap and let him leave when heís 30. Center is an important position. Even more important when developing a quarterback. Mack is a good center and, although Farmer is new, this organization doesnít have a great track record of replacing proven contributors with mid-round picks. It might be expensive in relation, but it wouldnít leave them inflexible or squeeze the cap. (For comparison, when Kalil signed his extension worth an average of $8 million per in 2011, his contract was around 6.67% of total cap. If the 2015 projections are accurate, Mackís franchise tag would put him around 8.5% of total cap.)

The one downside is malcontent potential. Mack claimed to be fine with the transition tag. Who knows how he would react to the franchise tag? The team has less to lose in a refuse-to-report situation though. And itís all a moot point if Haden isnít extended this off-season or during next season. Because itís a guarantee the franchise tag will be used on him in that scenario.
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:51 AM    (permalink
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Using generalities to attack or defend specific moves is somewhat reckless because each team faces their own set of unique circumstances.

Most teams wouldnít spend $10-12 million on a center. Thatís true. But teams arenít operating under identical conditions. Most teams donít sniff that kind of cap room. The Browns will because of constant turnover. There hasnít been a consistent pipeline of contributors coming through Cleveland. Few have warranted extending. Most teams canít afford to tie that much of their cap into multiple offensive linemen. The Browns donít have massive expenditures. Thereís not an expensive quarterback. Thereís not an expensive running back. Thereís not an expensive wide receiver. Thereís not an expensive pass rusher. (If I recall, Kruger will have a little over $5 million guaranteed remaining after this season, so heís not a cap fixture.) Haden is poised for an expensive extension. If that deal gets done, the Browns will have substantial investments in two of the five ďpremiumĒ positions. Offensive tackle and cornerback. And Joe Thomas can be cut or traded in 2015 and save an immediate $10 million if need be. Even if the Browns choose a quarterback with the fourth overall pick and develop him into a superstar, the cap wonít be impacted until 2018 or 2019. Josh Gordon is a free agent in 2016. Mingo is a free agent in 2017 in the event that he develops into a terror. And thereís not a running back on the roster that demands an above-average contract either. In short, the Browns have a lot of cost-controlled assets right now, but still need to spend to remain compliant with the required cap floor. If Haslam is hoarding cap space in an effort to get rich, heís going to be quite disappointed. At best, not spending shaves a few percentage points off expenses and saves a few million, but undermines the larger investment.

Iím not advocating extending Mack for $10-12 million per. Iím talking about the next two seasons. Treat him as an expensive stopgap and let him leave when heís 30. Center is an important position. Even more important when developing a quarterback. Mack is a good center and, although Farmer is new, this organization doesnít have a great track record of replacing proven contributors with mid-round picks. It might be expensive in relation, but it wouldnít leave them inflexible or squeeze the cap. (For comparison, when Kalil signed his extension worth an average of $8 million per in 2011, his contract was around 6.67% of total cap. If the 2015 projections are accurate, Mackís franchise tag would put him around 8.5% of total cap.)

The one downside is malcontent potential. Mack claimed to be fine with the transition tag. Who knows how he would react to the franchise tag? The team has less to lose in a refuse-to-report situation though. And itís all a moot point if Haden isnít extended this off-season or during next season. Because itís a guarantee the franchise tag will be used on him in that scenario.
We could probably get away with it for 2 years if we start a rookie QB, since the cap#'s for a rookie QB are no longer earth shattering.

What I cannot understand is why we let Ward go if we have so much cap money, or Jackson for that matter. Could it be that the owner needs money to pay for his criminal defense and will use the leftover cap money to pay for it.

Just seems strange we would dump veterans when we are loaded in cap space. Ward and Jackson were leaders on defense and every solid team needs veteran leadership.
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:28 AM    (permalink
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Jackson is not a schematic fit and his decline has been noticeable .
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:46 AM    (permalink
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What I cannot understand is why we let Ward go if we have so much cap money, or Jackson for that matter. Could it be that the owner needs money to pay for his criminal defense and will use the leftover cap money to pay for it.
He is a billionaire, I think he is fine with the amount of money.

As far as cap, just because you have it doesn't mean you have to go hog wild and spend it all. Look how far that got the Bucs/Dolphins/Eagles/Cowboys recently.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:03 AM    (permalink
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He is a billionaire, I think he is fine with the amount of money.

As far as cap, just because you have it doesn't mean you have to go hog wild and spend it all. Look how far that got the Bucs/Dolphins/Eagles/Cowboys recently.
I'm not talking about spending it on other team's FA's which is often risky and many times you need to wait till their 2nd year to get performance to equal the amount of money you are paying them. I'm talking about resigning our own FA's who won't need a year to adjust since they aren't switching teams. I could perhaps justify Jackson if they really thought his game was slipping, but Ward is just a young guy with a bright future ahead of him, why in the world wouldn't they resign him with all that cap space.

As for the owner being a billionaire, who knows how much cash he needs to beat these charges. When a team doesn't spend its full cap limit, the money goes into the owner's pockets for that year. He no doubt laid out a budget for the Browns which they have to operate on, so why wasn't resigning Ward a priority???? just asking the question.
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:40 PM    (permalink
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They said it was a mutual departure. Pettine said he wants safeties with coverage skills -- Whitner was better in coverage than ward last year.

What's so complicated about this?
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Old 04-13-2014, 10:57 PM    (permalink
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They said it was a mutual departure. Pettine said he wants safeties with coverage skills -- Whitner was better in coverage than ward last year.

What's so complicated about this?
Well, cap decisions are usually made by GM's even if the HC doesn't always like it, Maybe the GM did it for Pettine's defense, maybe not, they'll never come out and say the truth if there was another reason for the decision. They are in what is called, 'season ticket selling mode' and won't say squat about the franchise that can take anything away from that priority.

That's why every draft pick will be described as doing really well right up to the start of the season, nobody is allowed by the GM, to rock anything that could affect season ticket sales. It is just the name of the game at this time of the season.
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:48 AM    (permalink
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Haden/Browns sig for anyone who's interested:

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Old 05-07-2014, 11:22 PM    (permalink
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Well, I hoping for Manziel even if it means we have to trade up to #2 to secure him ahead of Jacksonville. the only reservation I have about manziel, is his ability to stay healthy. I really believe he has the talent and the intangibles to be great.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:27 AM    (permalink
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Well, the first round was eventful. Canít accuse new management of being gutless. That was a statement round. A boom-or-bust round. And it either makes or breaks them, I think.

For starters, I liked trading down. The extra first-rounder lets them operate from another power position in 2015. I wouldnít have complained about Watkins or Evans, but itís a deep receiver class, so Iím not too worried about putting a productive pass-catcher across from Gordon.

As for the eventual selection, cornerback wasnít a top ten or first-round need, but Gilbert illuminates a critical piece of their defensive vision. Pettine believes the back can help the front. It flies in the face of football convention, but I believe itís quite possible, too. A shutdown corner is a problem. A pair of shutdown corners is a nightmare. It weaponizes the defensive backfield. Erasing two perimeter targets with two man-to-man defenders is a significant advantage to the defense. It makes winning the numberís game elsewhere much easier. Pettine and Rex used Revis to achieve that from 2009-2011. That defense lacked premier pass rushers. But that team never finished lower than seventh in passing defense and scraped together respectable sack totals through scheme. (As an aside, I thought it was quite interesting that defensive coordinator Jim OíNeil was banging the table for Barkevious Mingo in Buffalo. It will be interesting to see how heís utilized in 2014.)

Thatís the thought process, at least. I donít think Gilbert is a shutdown corner. I think thatís a definite projection. Heís a moldable talent though. Long frame. Explosive athlete. Loose hips. Tantalizing press-man potential. Dangerous returner. Thereís a lot of attractive traits. I just donít think heís as polished or refined in the finer points of cornerbacking as some of the other prospects. Heís got consistent technique concerns. Sits on his heels too often. Uncomfortable in off-coverage situations. Some NFL receivers are going to eat him alive on their vertical stems. Itís near impossible to survive on athleticism alone in the NFL because itís the best of the best. The finer points become magnified. Now itís the defensive staffís job to iron out those inconsistencies and help him reach his upside. The new defensive backs coach comes from a collegiate background. I hope heís an efficient developer because NFL teams donít get as much time on the practice field under the recent CBA. I also hope Gilbert learns from being around Haden. It takes week-to-week dedication to be great. Top-notch corners arenít immune to struggles. Even Haden struggled down the stretch. That said, if Gilbert performs, it slides Skrine inside in sub-packages. I like Skrineís skill set as a slot corner.

ÖAnd then Manziel happened.

Iíll be honest. Nothing would surprise me with Manziel. It wouldnít surprise me if he becomes a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback that stabilizes the position for a decade. It wouldnít surprise me if he becomes a career backup that offers occasional jolts of excitement in spot starts. I think I love his attitude. And, for the record, I love Hoyerís attitude as well. ďBring him onĒ. There is going to be a lot of competitiveness in that quarterback room. Thatís a great thing. This organization needs more competition.

But the Browns better be all-in from the top-down. To me, thatís critical. I hope this wasnít a cheap attempt to steal the headlines or galvanize the fan base. I hope thereís been a detailed development plan in place and all of the major decision-makers believe in that plan. Manziel is a unique quarterback. I donít think Iíve seen a quarterback with a higher degree of spontaneous genius. There are legitimate aspects of his game to appreciate.

Manziel needs to improve as a pocket passer. Thatís clear. Regardless of his impressive improvisational skills, success still starts within structure. Some of his wildest highlights were needless. He couldíve moved the chains with a simple, straightforward pass without risking so much. He needs to hit those routine passes. That said, itís a delicate balance to strike. You donít want to suffocate his strengths. He needs to become a more proficient passer. He doesnít need to become a Manning. He brings other things to the table to compensate for that.

I liked how Shanahan handled RGIIIís transition to the NFL, so I wouldnít be surprised if he borrowed elements from that blueprint. Moving the pocket through bootlegs/rollouts, split-field reads, defined reads off strong run action, and manufacturing an effective ground game that he can lean on somewhat. Perhaps a sprinkling of zone-read? Then, from there, build upon that basic foundation and install more advanced concepts over time. Heís not going to master NFL quarterbacking overnight. When he steps onto that field, defensive coordinators will force him to prove he can beat them with his arm, so widening those initial windows comes first. Thatís the starting point if he starts. Pettine mentioned a redshirt season. Iím quite skeptical thatís still realistic, but if the coaching staff feels he needs a full season/off-season to compartmentalize, then Iím all for patience. Whatever improves his long-term prospects. At this point, I just hope his desire to be the best is genuine and not a fabricated image. If he wants to be the best, and understands the workload that comes with that goal, I feel better.

Would be curious to hear a war room conversation comparing Bridgewater and Manziel. I wonder if it was a combination of arm strength/deep ball/hand size/inclement weather concerns that scared off coaches and scouts. Weíll never know, I guess. It appears Bridgewater made a disastrous mistake when he opted to throw without gloves at his workout.

At this point, give me Allen Robinson or Jordan Matthews at the top of round two. Stock the offense with as much talent as possible. Gordon/Robinson or Matthews/Hawkins with Cameron at tight end and a Shanahan zone-based running game isn't a bad start for Hoyer/Manziel.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:06 PM    (permalink
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Well, I'm hoping we can challenge for the Division championship. Pittsburgh and Baltimore aren't the teams they once were and Cincy isn't a dominating team that is untouchable.

It will all come down to how well Manziel adjusts to pro ball and whether he can stay healthy. I agree that our offense could be special.

I hated the trade when we could have had the #1 receiving corp in all of football, just staring us in the face. There was a time that I really liked Gilbert, but the film they showed on him after his selection, left me cold, he could potentially develop into a shutdown CB but he cannot tackle in space to save his life. He could easily bust if he doesn't improve in that area, you cannot get away from tackling in pro ball and right now, he is one of the worst I have ever seen.
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:41 PM    (permalink
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Well, I'm hoping we can challenge for the Division championship. Pittsburgh and Baltimore aren't the teams they once were and Cincy isn't a dominating team that is untouchable.

It will all come down to how well Manziel adjusts to pro ball and whether he can stay healthy. I agree that our offense could be special.

I hated the trade when we could have had the #1 receiving corp in all of football, just staring us in the face. There was a time that I really liked Gilbert, but the film they showed on him after his selection, left me cold, he could potentially develop into a shutdown CB but he cannot tackle in space to save his life. He could easily bust if he doesn't improve in that area, you cannot get away from tackling in pro ball and right now, he is one of the worst I have ever seen.

I mean this in the most sincere, non-sarcastic way. It absolutely sucks that you guys can't catch a break. As relieved as I was at not having a Gordon-Watkins tandem in Cleveland, I hate the fact that Gordon might not play this year. It's fun to watch him play, and I prefer challenging games than easy ones. I'd actually love a legit Steelers-Browns rivalry, and wanted to see some Manziel to Gordon magic happen this year.
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:46 PM    (permalink
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Yeah, I'm pretty bummed for Browns fans. I was excited. I really don't think there are 10 non-QBs in the league that would make this kind of negative impact by being suspended.

Calvin, maybe Dez, Watt - Gordon's right there. Devastating blow.
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:01 PM    (permalink
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I like the Gordon-Watkins duo too but opposed for 2 reasons:

1. How do you pay both longterm? How many teams have the highest paid WR (Gordon may be soon) and Watkins on his 2nd contract? Teams don't usually build that way and having 2 expensive WRs could be an issue eventually where 1 gets traded.

2. You got the Bills future 1st. A non playoff 1st rd pick that can easily be top 10. Plus you netted another legit CB to pair with Haden. You didn't just pass on Sammy, or trade out all together, getting a beast CB and a future high 1st is worth more then Sammy. No way you turn that down. Bills overpaid big time.

Plus Marquis Lee is here, Donte Moncrief, guys who can be starters and very good #2 WRs. I loved what you did.
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:03 PM    (permalink
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Like what the Browns have done so far. If they get Lee. A+++
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:48 AM    (permalink
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I like the Gordon-Watkins duo too but opposed for 2 reasons:

1. How do you pay both longterm? How many teams have the highest paid WR (Gordon may be soon) and Watkins on his 2nd contract? Teams don't usually build that way and having 2 expensive WRs could be an issue eventually where 1 gets traded.

Quote:
We wouldn't have had to worry about it for 5 years till Watkins reached FA and who knows how long we will put up with Gordon???
2. You got the Bills future 1st. A non playoff 1st rd pick that can easily be top 10. Plus you netted another legit CB to pair with Haden. You didn't just pass on Sammy, or trade out all together, getting a beast CB and a future high 1st is worth more then Sammy. No way you turn that down. Bills overpaid big time.

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The trouble is, NFL Network with Mayock showed Gilbert's play on film and he cannot tackle in space if at all. Potential as a shutdown CB, but can a defense have a CB who cannot tackle?? Boom or Bust if you ask me.

The Bills are in a weak Division and the trade shows they are no longer limited by Wilson's pocket book and will try much harder to compete next year. If Manual does anything, they could easily win 8 or 9 games and the pick won't be all that great. Watkins by everything I saw and read, has HoF potential and I think the trade back was ridiculous since they obviously had to know Gordon was going to be suspended probably for the whole season.
Plus Marquis Lee is here, Donte Moncrief, guys who can be starters and very good #2 WRs. I loved what you did.
Well, we drafted an OG/OT so we have nothing at WR and I mean nothing!
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Old 05-10-2014, 01:24 PM    (permalink
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I really like that Ray Farmer has stuck to his board. I think we had a really good draft.
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