I don’t know how to answer that question. After hearing of the trade of Braylon Edwards to the Jets yesterday, I can say I felt very much the same way I did when the Browns traded Kellen Winslow.
Sure, those guys were a pain in the rear to coaches—particularly coaches like Eric Mangini. However, I can’t honestly say the Browns are a better team than they were before the moves were made. I feel that it’s fine to get rid of players who ruffle your feathers—but not until you have somebody better.
Winslow and Edwards were the only offensive playmakers the Browns had on offense the past two years. I don’t put Jamal Lewis in that category and they really haven’t found a legitimate way to use Josh Cribbs on offense on a consistent basis.
The NFL is a league of playmakers. Say what you will of Phil Savage, but he brought several Pro Bowlers to the team: Edwards, Cribbs, Joe Thomas and Derek Anderson, to name a few.
I know it’s early in the new regime and we don’t know yet if Alex Mack, Brian Robiskie, Mohamed Massaquoi, David Veikune and the rest of the 2009 draft class will go on to be Pro Bowlers or even contribute. Right now, it looks like Mack might be a good player and Massaquoi has shown promise.
It remains to be seen, but I think it is safe to say that Chansi Stuckey is not as good a player as Edwards. Granted, he might not have as many drops as Edwards, but I think the Browns could’ve gotten much more for Edwards. They traded him after his off-the-field incident when his stock was probably at an all-time low. Anyone in the financial world knows you don’t sell when your value is at rock bottom.
He was the third pick in the 2005 draft and scored 16 touchdowns two years ago. Most people assume that Edwards was gone after this season because his contract was up. Whether he was a restricted or unrestricted free agent, it doesn’t matter. With franchise tags, the top players can’t leave unless the team lets them. Think about it. Every year, there are all these potential big-name unrestricted free agents going to be available and by the time free agency happens, the really big names are taken off the market either by re-signing or being franchised.
Nothing personal, but I don’t think that Robert Royal is as good a player as Winslow. Players like Edwards and Winslow can take over a game on their own. Until the Browns get players who can do that, I don’t think they will be contenders.
What I’m saying is I don’t think the Browns can be a Super Bowl contender without star players. The players Mangini has brought in from the Jets are, in my opinion, organizational-type players. The teams the Browns have been playing were double teaming Edwards because he was the only weapon they had. The result was Massaquoi stepped up and had a big game.
Now, what happens when they take Massaquoi away?
I wonder who’s next to go. Will it be Brady Quinn?
I think Quinn might be moved because he draws so much attention. He’s the All-American boy and just seems like he should be a successful NFL quarterback.
If he’s not the starter, he’s always going to be the guy that the fans will be calling for. Anderson is, to me, a Mangini-type guy because he is not the prototype NFL quarterback. The fans don’t wear No. 3 jerseys. Even if he plays well, he doesn’t seem like the type of player who will ever be considered a star.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t especially like players who draw attention to themselves, but sometimes, you have to have star players to be successful. Thus far, I don’t see Mangini bringing in players who would be considered star players. I see him favoring players who are blue-collar type players, who fill a role. Just look at the free agents signings and the draft choices.
It seems to me that “Browns Football” is ultimately going to be made up of 53 players that for the most part are players who wouldn’t be termed “stars.”
The bottom line is “Browns Football” will be successful If Mangini wins and does it his way, but if he doesn’t win, he will go the same way that Chris Palmer, Butch Davis and Romeo Crennel did.
And for Browns fans, that will not be good.