Today at 4:30 PM is the deadline for NFL teams to apply their franchise tag. This Saturday kicks off the period that teams can enter contract negotiations with free agents, and Tuesday officially kicks off the NFL free agent period, as teams can begin signing free agents.
Today in particular should give us an idea of the Browns strategy, depending who (if anyone) they tag. In an ideal world, we’d lock up our key free agents (TJ Ward, Alex Mack) before 4:30 today. That may not happen, but if we avoid tagging either player, it will give us a peak at the Browns strategy. Essentially, without the tag, the team will either need to re-sign those key players before Saturday, or allow them to shop their services elsewhere. While this doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t remain with the team, but it could. It also could affect the price of their contracts, good or bad depending on the offers they get elsewhere. Let’s take a look at the early projections for the Browns.
DPN was the first Cleveland media source to report that the Browns were reversing the Banner/Lombardi position on Alex Mack, and intended to try and not only keep him, but work out a long term deal. Multiple media sources has been picked up our report, most feeling to cite us in the process. Regardless, the team is still making an effort to lock Mack up.
It has been thought by most media for months that TJ Ward would be an obvious candidate for the Browns to use their franchise on, due to his excellent performance last season, but weighed against consistency and injury concerns. The team has been relatively quiet, even as rumors that they had interest in Bills FS Jarius Byrd surfaced. What the Browns do today as far as signing or tagging Ward may be a sign of their intent.
Ian Rapoport reported this afternoon that the Bills had made an offer to Byrd that was rejected, and that the team was not planning to use it’s franchise on him.
Other players the Browns have rumored interest in:
Arthur Moats, OLB, Buffalo Bills
Alterraun Verber, CB, Tennessee Titans
Jon Asamoah, G, Kansas City Chiefs
More to come.
Shawn is the Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer for Dawg Pound Nation. He’s also an Army Sergeant, married to the beautiful and brilliant @MrsStarr, dad to three and aspiring Browns Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @ShawnMStarr or @DawgPoundNews, as well as on the Dawg Pound Nation Facebook Page.