On the third day of free agency, the Cleveland Browns are once again having NFL fans and experts in a state of confusion as they have seemingly allowed five of their free agents to leave despite have more money to spend than nearly the entire league (over $40 million).
Center, Alex Mack left for the Atlanta Falcons, the deal is reportedly a five year, $47.5 million deal, first two years guaranteed. The last two years of Mack’s 7-year career with the Browns have been a great example of the front office dysfunction that has taken place since the Browns returned to the league in 1999.
The three-time Pro Bowler was a restricted free agent last off season, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed him to a contract, it was well reported Mack was ready to move on, however Cleveland matched the offer and he returned. This year, as an unrestricted free agent, there was little doubt Mack would move on once the season was over and his feelings were confirmed with the Falcon’s signing as he could have made more money staying with Cleveland.
Right tackle, Mitchell Schwartz reportedly signed a five-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Though is productivity has been argued by fans, ProFootballFocus rated Schwartz as the best RT in 2015 and with him leaving that is 2 of the 5 Browns offensive linemen are gone.
Wide Receiver, Travis Benjamin the lone playmaker on the Browns offense has signed with the San Diego Charges. Benjamin had a career year this past season in both catches and total yards. The slot receiver caught 4 passes over 49 yards last year, and with his departure, the Browns lose a player with the capability to play 4
Pro Bowler Tashaun Gibson left the Browns to sign with a team who has been comparably bad in the win-loss column as the Browns. – the Jacksonville Jaguars. The free safety led the Browns in interceptions with 13 during his tenure, once an undrafted free agent, though prone to injury, Gibson took advantage of a free agent market which had few safeties available.
Lastly, special-teamer Johnson Bademosi signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Lions. Bademosi was a star on the only consistent unit the Browns have had over the years. Though he is the least notable of the free agents that left, his void will not be easy to fill.
The Browns have made a conscious decision to move on without those players. Looking forward, any free agent pickup to replace those players or college draft pick will not be as good, sadly this likely means the Browns will not be as good in 2016. With the number 2 pick, all arrows point to them taking quarterback, Jared Golf out of the Cal and its likely he’ll be working with a team who will be learning on the fly, just like him.