The Lions reportedly offered [Cliff Avril] a three-year, $30 million contract last year. Avril declined, instead signing the franchise tender, playing last season for $10.5 million, and then testing free agency again this year.
In other words, he bet on himself. And he lost.
According to ESPN, Avril has agreed to a two-year, $15 million deal with the Seahawks. That means Avril will end up making a total of $25.5 million for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons — after turning down the Lions’ offer to pay him a total of $30 million for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Players often like to bet on themselves by refusing long-term deals from their original teams and testing unrestricted free agency. In Avril’s case, that turned out to be a miscalculation.
The good news for Avril is that he’ll get to test free agency again in two years, when he’s only 28. But if the Seahawks offer him an extension after one year, he should strongly consider it.
BEREA—On Wednesday, the Browns introduced [Paul Kruger] as the team’s first signing in free agency. On Thursday, they followed suit by introducing [Desmond Bryant].
“With the [additions] of Paul and Desmond, we believe that we have significantly improved our defense overall, particularly our front seven,” Banner said. “This was one of our goals entering free agency and we are thrilled we were able to accomplish that. Like Paul, Desmond gives us someone with great size and athleticism for his position, and an ability to rush the passer, the key to any successful defense.”
Kruger was viewed by many as the first prize in free agency for the Browns. However, in the Browns’ eyes, Bryant was hardly a second prize.
“(Desmond) is a player we were very anxious to get,” Banner said. “He’s a very outstanding fit and we’re very lucky to get him.
“We feel fortunate to attract players of this caliber to the Browns.”
Banner said that from before free agency the Browns had both Kruger and Bryant at the top of their list.
“(Kruger and Bryant) are represented by two different agents in the same firm which was the immediate joke that our dream was to get both of (their players).”
Banner was asked if he felt the Browns had made their biggest moves in free agency.
“I think these will be the biggest moves we make (in free agency).”
Banner would not address specific positions the Browns might still be looking for, but it is believed they are still looking for a tight end and defensive backs, particularly at cornerback.
“We laid a plan out and a couple of the guys that were available and fit in to what we wanted to do,” Chudzinski said. “At this point the plan is going to schedule. We have a lot of areas we have to address and improve. The key is getting these guys and getting them in here and on the field.”
Bryant (6-6, 310) originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Raiders in 2009 from Harvard, Bryant has appeared in 63 games with 18 starts, missing just one game in his [career]. He has 124 career tackles, including 11.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
“I know what it takes to build a winning team and I’m ecstatic to be a part of it.” Bryant said. “I feel excitement in the building and feel extremely fortunate to be with the Browns.”
Bryant, 27, was asked to describe his style of play.
“Passionate,” he said. “I’m the type of player who is out there giving my 100 percent every play. I would say that I’m passionate and relentless. I play whistle to whistle on every play.”
Bryant is coming off his best season where he had 48 tackles, once forced fumble and a blocked field goal. He tied for the team lead with the Raiders with four sacks, including one in each of his last four games.
Once again, the Browns like his versatility.
“Desmond is a player who possess very good size and athleticism, attributes which make him very difficult to block,” Chudzinski said. “When you watch him play, he is always around the quarterback, and will provide a boost to our pass rush. He is a solid run defender and can play multiple positions along the line, which will allow him to be a part of both our base and sub-packages.”
“My versatility is I can play end and nose,” he said. “One of my strengths as a player is rushing the quarterback and affecting the quarterback. I think I can excel in this system.”
He says he will have no problem in the transition to the Browns defense.
“I played end in Oakland and have played all positions on the line,” he said. “The transition should be smooth, as I’ve played in this.”
Bryant said that joining defensive coordinator’s defense was appealing to him.
“I realized the strengths this place had, particularly Coach Horton in what he has done in this league,” he said. “His style of defense seemed to suit my style of defense.”
Chudzinski and Banner were asked about committing heavily to the defensive line, which already seemed to be a strength of the team.
“In my background, I don’t think you can ever have enough quality defensive linemen,” Chudzinski said. “One of the things that Desmond has exhibited his versatility and that will help us. I see him more as a defensive end in the base and the ability to go inside in the sub.”
Chudzinski confirmed that [Jabaal Sheard] will be played at outside linebacker.
Chudzinski said a decision hasn’t been made whether Rubin or Taylor will line up at nose tackle.
“We’re going to need to get out on the field and see how that shakes out,” he said.
Banner said the goal was to create a dominant defensive line up front, not to make a trade.
“Our purpose has been to get a really strong unit to rotate and handle injuries with depth and that is what we’re trying to achieve,” Banner said.
“There are three interior spots and we have probably six players probably make the team. There is no reason to think we have abundance (there).”
On the negative side, Bryant was involved in a well-publicized incident Feb. 24, 2013 earlier this off-season where he was arrested for a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief for allegedly being drunk and wandering into a neighbor’s house in Miami. A mug shot of him went viral on the internet, but he said it was an isolated incident.
“I obviously made a mistake and apologized for everything that happened,” Bryant said. “I’ve moved on and learned from that and feel have exhibited that’s not the person I am and it’s not indicative of me. It was a mistake and I have moved on and hopefully, everybody else has as well.”
Bryant didn’t know if the incident would affect his stock in free agency.
“It’s been a trying time with a little uncertainty of where I’d be working this year,” he said. “The incident happened, but it didn’t define me and don’t think it hasn’t impacted me.”
Banner said that the Browns did their due diligence on him.
“We did everything we could,” Banner said. “We know people who know Desmond very well and looked at his history and felt he would fit in with us here.”
No Phil: Since Banner said the Browns were most likely done with big name signings that could mean the team will not try to re-sign K [Phil Dawson].
Browns Culture: Banner and Chudzinski were asked what the description of the players the Browns were looking to bring in.
“We really want to create a team with character and with the type of people we bring in and have a culture of very hard working determined highly, highly competitive players, who have a team approach first. We want players who are very aggressive offensive and defensive minded.”
Chudzinski broke his thoughts down to one sentence.
“(We want) toughness, relentlessness, guys that are passionate about playing football and being a Cleveland Brown.”
Chud on Groves: Chudzinski was asked about recent free agent OLB [Quentin Groves].
“He’s a very athletic linebacker and this past year he really blossomed in the 3-4 and in Ray’s defense,” he said. “He will play every where good special teams player came highly recommended.”
Corners Going: Several CBs linked to the Browns have started to go elsewhere. [Cary Williams] (Eagles), [Sean Smith] (Chiefs), [Keenan Lewis] (Saints) are off the list. At press time those still available were: Aqib Talib, Nnamdi Asomgha, Antoine Cason, [Captain Munnerlyn] and [Tracy Porter].
Banner said he felt the Browns were done with any big free agency signings, so it is unknown if they are still pursuing any of the cornerbacks or tight ends like [Fred Davis], [Dustin Keller] or [Brandon Myers].
Mum on Geno: Banner declined to comment when he was asked if he would comment on who represented the Browns at [West Virginia] QB [Geno Smith]’s Pro Day. It was reported that 28 of 32 NFL teams were represented. It was also reported that Smith was 60-of-64 in completing passes.
Maiava Gone: The only Browns player that has officially signed with another team is LB [Kaluka Maiava] with the Raiders. WR/KR Josh Cribbs has been reported to have signed with the Cardinals, but no official deal has been done.
New Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and chief executive officer Joe Banner set a goal to have a tough, aggressive football team and have approached free agency with the same tenacity they expect to see from their players this season.
In the first three days of the new NFL year, the Browns have added four players: linebackers [Paul Kruger] (Baltimore) and [Quentin Groves] (Arizona), defensive lineman [Desmond Bryant] (Oakland), and tight end [Gary Barnidge] (Carolina).
“We really want to create a character of the type of people we want in the organization and the culture we are going to be, very hard-working, very determined, wanting to be the best they can be, and highly competitive people with a team-first approach to things,” Banner said Thursday during a news conference welcoming Bryant to Cleveland.
Besides the ones Banner listed, coach Rob Chudzinski mentioned other qualities he wants to see in those chosen to represent the Browns on the field.
“I would add to it, toughness, relentlessness, smart guys, guys that are passionate about playing football, guys that are passionate about being Cleveland Browns,” Chudzinski said. “You start with those things. The talent, the athleticism, the ability to play, good players that understand the game, that’s all what we want to be and embody what a Cleveland Brown is.”
Before the free-agency signing period on Tuesday, the Browns’ coaches and front-office staff formulated a plan for how they wanted to make the team better and what types of players they felt could fit that mold.
“A couple of the guys that were available really fit into some of the areas of key needs and stuff that we wanted to do,” Chudzinski said. “I’d say to this point, the plan is going according to schedule. We have a lot of work to do, so it’s not just a matter of guys coming in. We have a lot of areas we have to address and improve. The key is getting these guys in and working with them, and as coaches, helping them develop and giving them the tools to succeed.”
One of the areas the Browns addressed was the front seven of their new 3-4 defense headed up by coordinator Ray Horton.
Kruger had a career-high and Ravens-best nine sacks during the 2012 regular season and added another 4.5 sacks in the postseason, including two in a Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3.
Then, they agreed to terms with Bryant, who had been durable and productive in his previous four seasons with the Oakland Raiders. He missed just one of 64 career games, and in that time, registered 124 tackles and 11.5 sacks while playing multiple positions along the Raiders’ defensive line.
The Browns added Quentin Groves Wednesday. The five-year veteran spent 2012 with the Cardinals, where he played for Horton.
“I don’t think you could ever have enough quality defensive linemen,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll sort a lot of that out when we get out on the field. One of the things Desmond has been able to do and demonstrate is his flexibility. He’s played a lot of different positions up front, inside, outside. That versatility will give us some options. I see him, in our base package, being more of a defensive end. In sub, (he’ll have) the ability to move inside.”
Banner added, “Our purpose has been to get a really strong unit, have good depth so we can rotate, so that if we have any injuries, the line will still be one of the primary assets of the team. That’s what we feel like we are achieving.”
Morning is the time to pity the sober. The way they're feeling then is the best they're going to feel all day.
Oh, he occasionally takes an alcoholiday.--Wilde
Thirst is a shameless disease so here's to a shameful cure.
An Irish youth proves his manhood by getting stuck in a pint, in a woman, and in a fish-in that order.
Daylight comes through the drunkard's roof the fastest.
A man takes a drink; the drink takes a drink; the drink takes the man.
Before you call for one for the road be sure you know the road.
Practice makes perfect, there's many do think, but a man's not too perfect when he's practiced at drink.
The truth comes out when the spirit goes in.
The devil invented Scotch whiskey to make the Irish poor.
Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbor. It makes you shoot at your landlord-and it makes you miss him.
It's the first drop that destroys you; there's no harm at all in the last.
He'd step over ten naked [women]to get at a pint.
A narrow neck keeps the bottle from being emptied in one swig.
All good things must come to an end...(i.e. No party lasts forever!)
And the most famous blessing of all…
"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you
In the palm of his hand."
[Men]are like bagpipes: no sound comes from them until they're full.
A man is a man when his woman is a woman.
A sea wind changes less often than the mind of a weak man.
A man's fame lasts longer than his life.
No man can prosper without his woman's leave.
Man can climb the highest summits, but he cannot dwell there long. -Shaw
A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned. -Synge
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. -Shaw
--Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many are left? Answer: five.
Why? Because there's a difference between deciding & doing.
--Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character. *Ralph Waldo Emerson
--If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all. *Michelangelo
--It's easy to have principles when you're rich. The important thing is to have principles when you're poor.<center>Bricks and mortar make a house but the laughter of children makes a home.</center>
<center>Blood is thicker than water-and easier seen.</center>
<center>Praise and scold in equal measure,</center>
<center>If your family you treasure.</center>
<center>An old man's child is hard to rear.</center>
<center>A family of Irish birth will argue and fight,</center>
<center>But let a shout come from without and see them all unite.</center>
10. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.
Saints signed TE Ben Watson to a three-year contract.A do-it-all tight end still going relatively strong at age 32, Watson will replace David Thomas as the Saints' top backup behind Jimmy Graham. In 16 games with the Browns last season, Watson hauled in 49 passes for 501 yards and three touchdowns. His numbers are likely to dip with a reduced role in New Orleans, but this is a smart depth signing by Saints GM Mickey Loomis & Co.
Good luck Ben ..thanks for your service . a class act on & off the field . wish we could have had you 10 years agoCheers....
Thanks for all you did Ben...
Mike Lombardi was never short on opinions of the Browns personnel when he worked for the NFL Network.
But now that he’s the Browns general manager, he doesn’t have nearly as much to say.
Lombardi hasn’t talked on the record for any of the Browns beat writers since he was introduced at a press conference in January, and as CEO Joe Banner explained to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, that’s not a coincidence.
“I don’t think anybody would deny that whether people are for him or against him, [he’s a lightning rod at the moment],” Banner said. “It attracts a lot of attention and it gets a lot of strong reaction and I think it’s better for us right now and better for him to keep things calm, low-key, focus on his work and then kind of more gradually let that situation take care of itself in terms of his availability to you all.”
Banner said if Browns fans, or reporters, were looking for someone to hold accountable, to send it up the [flagpole].
“You can blame me,” Banner said. “There won’t be a shortage of someone to hold accountable. This is a gradual [process]. I think it makes more sense, obviously from our perspective, to kind of let this happen. Evolve into it, as opposed to jumping into it.
“He’s not going to be hidden. He’s not going to be somebody over time you won’t have an opportunity to talk to. But as I say there are certainly no accountability issues. I’m sitting here and you can hold me accountable for whatever we do. And ultimately whether it’s responsibility because of the people we hired or my own role in decisions that we make, I’m a big boy and I accept that comes with the territory here. You hope that [credit] comes if you do well too, but the accountability is not going to be anything anybody here is going to shy away from.”
[Hiring] someone who made a living in the media, and then keeping them from it, is an awkward strategy.
But given the pre-existing relationships there from Lombardi’s days with the old Browns, it’s hard to imagine time healing all old wounds.