Written by: Amy Schopp
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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With one of our first round draft picks sitting in rehab and the other literally being babysat by Joe Haden in the off-season, it's hard to take Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam seriously when he says he wants to build the team through the draft. Some thought that the comment was a smokescreen, that perhaps the Browns would maximize their cap space and add some proven talent to the roster for the 2015 season. True to form, the front office seems to have missed on several opportunities while adding to our dream team with yet another beyond-his-prime receiver and a quarterback with no fire that seems satisfied being a locker room morale booster and nothing more.
Just as I'm writing this, I get a notification that the Browns lost Buster Skrine, who hasn't missed a game and whose career is progressing each year, because they are putting their faith in Justin Gilbert (that's worked out in the past, right?). Jordan Cameron is on his way out, too. Minus his injuries, he was a consistent playmaker for us. And during the Cleveland Auto Show appearance last Monday, Coach Mike Pettine is quoted saying that there is no urgency in drafting a quarterback. I guess there really is no urgency since we haven't had a franchise quarterback in over a decade. This class of free agents didn't give a lot of options on the quarterback front; however, any time I hear anyone mention McCown's name, it's rarely pertaining to his level of skill and almost always revolving around his maturity and character. That's all well and good, but it's not enough to make someone a starting quarterback. McCown just doesn't seem like a strong enough contender to justify letting Hoyer walk. I've already mentally added him to the list of failed starting quarterbacks since their re-emergence--22 and growing.
Let me be clear: in no way do I think the Browns need to overspend in free agency in order to build up the team. The draft is a viable way to add to the team for a lot less money, and sometimes teams do get lucky. We nabbed Josh Gordon in the Supplemental Draft and he went on to set several NFL records. When he had his head screwed on tight, he was a steal for us. But in my jaded opinion, the front office seems incapable of ever drafting any player we could ever slap a franchise tag on and with the repercussions of “Textgate” still unknown, I don't foresee us making an impact that way either.
My social media feeds seem torn between the die-hards that support tightening the purse strings during free agency and those that share my concern that we'll end up drafting another Johnny Manziel or worse. And so I wait, I pretend like I'm unaffected by the idea of another losing season, and when pre-season rolls around, I'll set my sights on the Super Bowl once again.