It's a week before the draft, so here come the trade rumors.
First up today is old favorite WR Kevin Johnson. Sean McClelland of the Dayton Daily News offers that Browns fans can "expect Johnson to be dangled as draft-day trade bait. And you can be sure that for a second-round choice, maybe even a third, coach Butch Davis would get behind the wheel and personally escort Johnson to his new home."
Later today, we will publish the transcript of the latest Browns Uncensored chat for our premium subscribers. In the chat, there seems to be some cynicism from our Insiders about the recent public lovefest between Davis and Johnson.
Basically, Davis can't win. If he's in earnest about his desire to keep KJ on the team, that's great, but the organization's public statements tend to create skepticism. In this case, McClelland ignores them completely while our Insiders occasionally will consider public statements about an athlete's skills a convenient means to boost his trade value.
Such is life in the age of spin:
Clinton didn't have sex with that woman. Whatever. OJ is still looking for the real killers. Whatever. Art Modell had no choice. Whatever. We have no weapons of mass destruction. Whatever.
Public cynicism even applies to less critical matters:
Chris Palmer won't be fired. Whatever.
Butch Davis won't leave Miami of Florida. Whatever.
We don't want to trade Kevin Johnson. Whatever.
In this cynical time, credibility is a precious commodity and gained only with time, effort, and repeated proof. Posture once, and you'll be greeted with cynicism forevermore.
Put it all together, and Kevin Johnson trade rumors show near the top of the Daily Newswire.
The second player to appear in the lineup of trade suspects is our old friend Jamel White. Tony Grossi's article in the Plain Dealer indicates that White has signed his tender offer, a move which would make the hard-working running back easier to deal.
White, an undrafted running back who was acquired by the Browns on waivers, has worked himself into a position where the only thing between him and a starting role is the on-field success of William Green. Green's performance at the latter part of the 2002 season ensures that White will remain a back-up, and a relatively expensive one at that.
Our Insiders have been saying for a while that the Browns would prefer not to pay White the cap-unfriendly $1.3 million salary next year. The signed contract gives the Browns an opportunity to deal White away to teams who would be perfectly satisfied with the skills he brings to the table.
It is now one week until the draft. Let the carnival begin.
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