Offseason Overview: Browns Ready to Challenge in the AFC

Derek Anderson

Franchise Player: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

• LB Keith Adams is unlikely to be brought back.

• WR Tim Carter will not be re-signed after the Browns signed Donte Stallworth in free agency. Carter is a track guy trying to play football.

• OT Nat Dorsey is slow, but he can back up left or right tackle. With Ryan Tucker moving to guard, Dorsey could be re-signed at the right price.

• DE Bobby Hamilton could be back because Romeo Crennel is a Hamilton fan and there might be room with Orpheus Roye and Simon Fraser out of the picture.

• NT Ethan Kelley probably won’t be pursued. He is coming off microfracture surgery and the Browns added Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers.

• NT Ted Washington will not be re-signed. He was slow and unproductive before being placed on injured reserve on Oct. 31.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

• CB Daven Holly (tendered at $1.47M with 2nd-round pick as compensation) is smart and has a nose for the ball. With Leigh Bodden traded to the Lions, Holly will compete with Brandon McDonald for a starting job.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

• G Rex Hadnot: UFA Dolphins; $7M/2 yrs, $3.5M guaranteed.

• LB Shantee Orr: UFA Jaguars; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• DT Shaun Rogers (trade Lions).

• WR Donte Stallworth: UFA Patriots; $35M/7 yrs, $10M guaranteed.

• DT Corey Williams: Franchise FA Packers re-signed and traded to Browns; $38M/6 yrs, $16.5M guaranteed.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

• RB Charles Ali: ERFA; terms unknown.

• QB Derek Anderson: RFA; $24M/3 yrs, $7M SB/$5M RB ‘09.

• CB Gary Baxter: UFA Browns; $720,000/1 yr, SB unknown.

• OL Lennie Friedman: UFA; 1 yrs, terms unknown.

• RB Jamal Lewis: Potential UFA; $17M/3 yrs, $6M guaranteed.

• C/G Seth McKinney: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• S Nick Sorensen: UFA; $2.5M/3 yrs, SB unknown.

• LB Kris Griffin: RFA; $927,000/1 yr.

PLAYERS LOST

• CB Leigh Bodden (traded Lions).

• CB Ricardo Colclough: UFA Panthers; $4M/2 yrs, SB unknown.

• DE Simon Fraser: Not tendered as RFA/Falcons; terms unknown.

• DE Orpheus Roye (released).

• LB Matt Stewart: UFA Cardinals; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• LB Chaun Thompson: UFA Texans; $2.4M/2 yrs, $650,000 SB.

The Browns last season came from nowhere to contend for the AFC North title, and in the end missed a playoff shot due to a letdown in Cincinnati in week 16. This year, with lessons learned, the team seems ready to be one of the top teams in the AFC, this despite a tough schedule and no picks in this past years draft till the 4th round. The team used those draft picks from rounds one though three for the following players – Brady Quinn, Corey Thompson, and Shaun Rogers. Bottom line is the team feels those three players were better than anything they could have had in this years draft. Even poised to be a top team though, there are questions that remain about this squad.

The biggest question could be if QB Derek Anderson can continue what was a very good 2007. 29 touchdowns will be hard to come by again, but maybe the biggest issue is the 19 picks he threw, which the team was hurt by late in the year. They also need another big year from bruising back Jamal Lewis, who went off for 1304 yards and9 TD’s. Can this team finally top the Steelers? They have not beaten their biggest rival since 2003, and that was with Tim Couch at QB. If the team can start fast and gain early confidence, this team can be as dangerous as any in the AFC.

Offseason Grade to Date: B


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