Dawg Pound Journal: The 10 biggest offseason moves from Day 1 of free agency

by Alex Salamon | Mar 11, 2015
Kevin Jones, Staff Writer


How each move impacts the Browns

Impact Browns

Was it the most wild and unpredictable day in the history of the NFL’s offseason?

Hall of Fame front office man Bill Polian said so when Adam Schefter asked on ESPN.

Peter King declared the day so profound, he decided to pen a special Wednesday edition of his well-read column.

The Browns, as they’ve said all along, remained calculated, making their headline earlier in the day with the addition of wide receiver Brian Hartline. A year after adding key veteran pieces via free agency, Cleveland is content making moves that fit – not necessarily chasing big names. 

Three major trades went down and numerous free agent signings were reported. Let’s review the biggest ones.

1)      The New Orleans Saints traded All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks for Pro Bowl center Max Unger and a first-round pick. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports was first to report the news.

Browns take: Cleveland will face the Seahawks in Seattle during the 2015 season and will see Graham for the second straight year. The all-world tight end caught 10 balls for 118 yards and two touchdowns against the Browns in Week 2.

2)      Moments later, the Baltimore Ravens traded Pro Bowl defensive lineman Haloti Ngata to the Detroit Lions for multiple draft picks. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun was the first to report the news.

Browns take: Ngata’s departure will cause every AFC North team to breathe a sigh of relief.  

3)      Almost simultaneously with the Ngata trade, the Philadelphia Eagles got in on the action, sending quarterback Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford and draft picks in return.

Browns take:  Are the Eagles done making moves? Bradford is on the books for a $16.9 million cap hit in 2015.

4)      In pertinent news to the Browns, cornerback Buster Skrine reportedly inked a four-year deal with the New York Jets.

Browns take: Cleveland’s coaches made it clear they loved Skrine, but at the right price. The Browns could weigh bringing in a veteran or rely upon Justin Gilbert and Pierre Desir to fill the void. K’Waun Williams played nickel cornerback throughout his rookie season.

5)      Reports surfaced early in the afternoon linking free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Browns, but Revis reportedly decided to join Skrine with the Jets – the team that originally drafted him.

Browns take: Ultimately, Revis back to the Jets made sense for all parties involved. On Monday, coach Mike Pettine talked about how new regimes come in and make splashes in free agency to get players who suit their style – which is what Cleveland did last year and what the new duo of coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan appeared to accomplish Day 1 of free agency.

6)      More quarterback news: Former Tennessee Titan Jake Locker has retired from the NFL after four seasons.

Browns take: Locker was having one of his best career games in a Week 5 affair against Cleveland until an injury pushed him to the sidelines and the Browns left with a harrowing 29-28 victory. The Los Angeles Angels drafted Locker out of high school back in 2006. Locker was a standout outfielder and pitcher at Ferndale High School in Washington.

7)      Days after writing his farewell letter to Baltimore, wide receiver Torrey Smith has reportedly landed with the San Francisco 49ers.

Browns take: Another thorn from Cleveland’s side has been removed from the division. Smith posted six catches for 108 yards in two games against the Browns in 2014.

8)      Trent Cole, the former Philadelphia Eagle pass rusher who visited with the Browns over the weekend, signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

Browns take: One year after a dramatic loss to the Colts, Cleveland won’t have to square off against the AFC South leaders, who have beefed up a number of areas of weakness during the early part of free agency.

9)      The New York Giants needed to add help alongside quarterback Eli Manning and receiver Odell Beckham – and they did. Former Patriots running back Shane Vereen and former Dallas Cowboy slot receiver Dwayne Harris are reportedly headed to the Big Apple.

Browns take:  Luckily Cleveland won’t have to play the Giants this season.

10)   AJ Hawk, the veteran linebacker and Ohio State alumnus, agreed to terms with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Browns take: Hawk joins Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict to form a stingy linebacking unit in the middle of Cincinnati’s defense.