This has been a pretty interesting week for someone who is a big Cleveland fan, and a fan of sports in general. For the first time in history, NFL free agency and baseball's trade deadline have collide. I guess the NFL lockout gave us something. While both Cleveland teams have had a lot of rumors swirl about, there have been very few moves actually done but the ones that were done were smart, well thought out moves.
The Indians were rumored to be going after several players through trade. Some of the names heard have been Coco Crisp, Ryan Ludwick, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Hunter Pence. None of these guys have been traded yet, but the Indians may have taken themselves out of the sweepstakes for a big time Outfielder. Proving that often what we here is just a smokescreen, the Indians snagged Kosuke Fukudome from the Chicago Cubs. Its not going to be a blockbuster move the casual fan can get behind, but the stats junkie in me loves it. Fukudome knows how to get on base. he is a patient hitter that draws a lot of walks. His OPS is above average even though he doesn't have a lot of power. He is a line drive hitter which allows him to avoid double plays. He also is a solid defender and can step in right away and contribute to winning games.
Free agency in the NFL has been crazy, but the Browns have been relatively quiet. They agreed to terms with Usama Young, a backup CB/FS from the Saints who played solid in limited time. He'll likely start at FS or at nickel CB. He has elite physical skills (ran a 4.40 40 yard dash, great vertical and broad jumps) but he still is raw. Its possible its nothing, but it seems like he might have solid instincts since he made some nice plays (3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries) in limited playing time. The Browns have also agreed to terms with Brandon Jackson. Jackson is a very nice backup RB who has experience in a West Coast style offense in Green Bay. He can block, catch, and run solid with the ball. That's all you ever ask for from a 3rd down/backup running back. The Browns have also signed most of their draft picks, but that's it they have done.
Other news around the leagues:
-Eric Wright was signed by the Detroit Lions. Its a shame. Sounds like he passed up a multi-year deal here for a 1 year deal, which is likely attributed to the negative reaction he received from fans (i.e. death threats). He was solid once he didn't have to start.
-The lockout seems to affected the Buccaneer's value of a dollar. they paid a total of over 100 million dollars over 18 NFL seasons (combined) to a Guard, a Punter, and an Outside Linebacker. Whats worse, is none of these guys were anything better than above average players.
-Charles Johnson got a ton of money. 76 million over 6 years. That's Julius Peppers money and Johnson had only 1 good season. They also gave 43 million to a Running Back who can't stay healthy in DeAngelo Williams.