With $47 million in cap space to work with and a new regime running the show in Cleveland, the Browns are expected to be very aggressive in the early days of the free-agency period. How aggressive? Well according to the early reports from the new three-day tampering window, there is hardly a single defensive player that the Browns aren't rumored to have interest in.
The team is switching from a 4-3 to an attacking 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, and it appears they are committed to filling out their defense through free agency rather than relying on the draft. As it stands now, their main target is LB Paul Kruger. Kruger was originally a second-round pick for the Ravens in the 2009 draft who had a career year in 2012, putting up nine sacks, one forced fumble, and one interception. Failing to sign Kruger, the Browns plan on signing DE Cliff Avril, the Detroit Lions' best pass rusher in 2012.
In addition to adding depth at the outside linebacker position, the Browns have also been linked to a number of other positions for the coming free-agency period. According to NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah, the team is in the market for a defensive tackle and cornerback, while reports from the Cleveland Plain Dealer suggests they are interested in tight ends, specifically Jared Cook or Brandon Myers. All in all, it could be a very interesting week for the Browns, as free agency is set to open tomorrow at 4:00 pm.
For all you jealous Bengals fans out there, I offer you this interesting piece of information:
Beware: #Browns free agent scorecard: 98 players signed since 1993 as UFAs or RFAs. 1 Pro Bowl appearance for them. Jamir Miller, 2001.— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) March 11, 2013
The Browns may be set to make a big splash in free agency, but free agents are not always a cure-all for a teams' troubles. With a new coaching staff in place, a potentially fluid quarterback situation, and a change to a new defensive scheme, the Browns' big plans might be nothing more than a tiny band aid on a hemophiliac's bleeding wound. Wasn't that a lovely metaphor?