What’s going on with your favorite team and/or player now that the NFL’s free agent signing period is underway? (Latest news in parenthesis.)
Cleveland today released quarterbacks Brandon Weeden (spoiler alert: he cleared waivers) and Jason Campbell, while announcing the signings of safety Donte Whitner, linebacker Karlos Dansby, and defensive back Isaiah Trufant.
The three additions were introduced at a press conference where Dansby said he had no choice but to come to Cleveland, because, “I think we’re going to do something really special this season.”
He also said he believes this will be a special season for him personally. “I think I might double my output here, just by the positioning of myself in this scheme,” he told reporters. “I think it’s one of the better schemes in the NFL, if you ask me.”
Dansby’s output in 2013-2014? 122 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 4 interceptions.
Meanwhile, former Ohio State defensive back Whitner was asked about the possibility of another former Buckeye joining him with the Browns.
“I’ll have to tell the truth about that, I sent the guys over here a text message the other day and told them to look at [Ted Ginn, Jr.],” he said. “I know he’s still a speed guy. He can take the top off the defense. He has a chip on his shoulder also. Plus, he’s a Cleveland guy. And he feels the same way I feel about this city, the Cleveland Browns winning, and I know for a fact that he would like to be a Cleveland Brown. If everything goes well, hopefully he’s here.”
Unfortunately for Whitner, that was not to be, and we’ll discuss why when we get to the former Buckeyes portion of our summary.
On Thursday, the Browns continued to add to their roster, sending out a press release saying they had signed tight end Jim Dray, who left Arizona after 4 years with the Cardinals.
Running back, Ben Tate, who most recently played for the Texans and would fill a huge need for Cleveland, is visting with the Browns. There are many analysts who believe he won’t leave Berea without agreeing to a deal. The latest news regarding quarterback Matt Schaub is that the Texans didn’t intend to let him hit the free agent market. Browns target Darrelle Revis reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Patriots. The Browns also missed out on Eric Decker. Despite the fact that Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says the Browns had an interest in Denver receiver, he inked with the Jets. Having failed to land Decker, Cleveland’s attention may turn to Julian Edelman, who visits with the 49ers Friday, and is being courted by the Ravens as well. On top of all that, the Browns have signed Bengals receiver Andrew Hawkins to an offer.
Also, according to NFL.com, the Ravens and Colts have been in touch with Cleveland center Alex Mack, and there are two more as yet unnamed teams that have an interest. Because the Browns used their transition tag on Mack, they have the ability to keep him by matching whatever offer another team might make. The Broncos confirmed the signing of former Browns safety TJ Ward. Washington officially announced a deal for former Browns guard Shawn Lauvao.
It’s been relatively quiet for Cincinnati since they re-signed receiver and return man Brandon Tate, while allowing defensive end Michael Johnson to leave and sign with Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers also have an interest in Bengals offensive guard Anthony Collins.
Thursday, Cincinnati released linebacker James Harrison, while after initial reports indicated the Bengals would match Cleveland’s offer for receiver Andrew Hawkins, the feeling now is the proposed deal is so front loaded, that is no longer the case.
Though not directly related to free agency, Cincinnati also announced they signed head coach Marvin Lewis to a contract extension that runs through 2015
He visited with the Buccaneers, and Whitner wanted him in a Browns uniform, but Ted Ginn, Jr. ended up getting a three-year deal with the Cardinals. Tight end Jake Ballard re-signed with the Cardinals. Carolina would like to re-sign tight end Ben Hartsock, but only for the right price. Linebacker Austin Spitler could be in a similar situation with the Dolphins. Safety Will Allen returned to the Steelers. The Jets have released receiver Santonio Holmes, and he’s still looking for a new home. Safety Kurt Coleman might also end up with a new team, ironically because the Eagles signed fellow former Buckeye Malcolm Jenkins. USA Today said Jenkins’ contract was a “three-year deal worth as much as $16.25 million with $8.5 million guaranteed.”
(Note: Corrected typo regarding Jenkins. Obviously, it’s Malcolm, not Michael who will be playing defensive back for Philadelphia. Thanks for the heads up, John!)