Well...The lockout is finally over. That's good news for the NFL and the Browns. Now Holmgren and Heckert can get down to business and sign some free agents. This will be a big week for both the Browns and the Indians and a fun week to watch. This next week or so will be when the Indians make a deal at the deadline if they make a deal and the Browns could be very active in Free Agency.
How active the Browns are in free agency depends on if they are willing to pay Jake Delhomme 5.4 million for 2011 or if they will cut him/reduce his salary. If they are unwilling, they will have some serious cash to spend in free agency. With the new CBA, teams have to spend over 90 million which means the Browns have over 25 million dollars they are required to spend. Some will be used to resign players and sign rookies, but most will be used in free agency.
It may just be optimism, but I think the Browns may get one of the 2 top Defensive Ends in free agency. Personally I prefer Ray Edwards over Charles Johnson because I am inherently wary when a player breaks out in a contract year. There are also some Heckert connections in Minnesota (Brad Childress worked for the Eagles). Another guy with Heckert connections is Quinton Mikell. He can play either safety position and will know the defense being run. I also wouldn't mind seeing them try for UDFA Deunta Williams. However, I am not a fan of Donte Whitner who I have heard talked about. He has the same game as TJ Ward and struggles in coverage. It would also be nice to add a 2nd tier O-Lineman for the right side (like Marshall Yanda) or a 2nd tier 4-3 OLB (like Leroy Hill). When guys are signed, I will try to post updates.
The Indians are also being linked to some rumors with the trade deadline nearing. A lot of the trades I have seen talked about on sites and message boards I don't see as realistic, because the Indians would be mortgaging guys for the future such as Jason Kipnis or Drew Pomeranz. I am also not enamored with guys we would get such as BJ Upton (consistently underachieving) and Hunter Pence (good player, but overvalued and overrated in my opinion). Other guys who have been linked I would be more of a fan of. While Ryan Ludwick, Jeff Francoeur, and Coco Crisp are average starters, they are also bargains.
At this point, the Indians have a bright future and should look to make a deal where they improve in the short term an don't hinder long-term goals. Trading a mid-level prospect (Jared Goedert, Jason Donald, Austin Adams) or two for one of these guys would not hurt the future and the guys received could help the Indians in the chase for the Division. The Indians just won tonight (it was Fausto too) after 2 ugly losses where the pitchers got no run support (and gave up only 5 earned runs over 2 games) which puts them at 1.5 games behind Detroit. Detroit is also losing as I write 6-3 and if they lose, thats only 1 game. Picking up Crisp and being able to have a somewhat reliable hitter everyday could put the Indians over the edge.
There was good news in the past week for Ohio State. The NCAA decided that there was no evidence in for OSU compliance that they failed to properly monitor their players and they avoided the dreaded "Lack of Institutional Control" (LOIC). According the the sticklers at the NCAA, OSU is now clean (Tressel was the culprit and he is gone) but there will be those OSU detractors that still believe there are problems. When you google "lack of institutional control", 2 of the suggestions involve OSU. People will still think its out of control, but in reality it was just Tressel and the punishments they handed themselves (vacating 2011, getting rid of Tressel) are more than enough