2014 Free Agency: 21 players that make sense for Cleveland
By Joe Mazzulo
Rex Grossman – QB, Washington Redskins
Potential Contract: Very low level. Likely veteran minimum. 1-2 year deal tops.
What makes him fit: Schematic familiarity and relationship with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. At 33, Grossman knows his role within a football team and would likely make a solid vet quarterback to back up Brian Hoyer and provide insurance for a rookie quarterback who may or not be ready.
Impact on the starting line up: None. Grossman would only get on the field in the pre-season or due to multiple injuries. Purely a depth and leadership signing.
Level of Risk: None. Grossman will take little financial commitment and would not be a lock to make the final roster.
Santana Moss – WR, Washington Redskins
Potential Contract: Low level. vet minimum if he signs with a contender or slightly above it if he does to a team in transition.
What makes him fit: He spent the past 4 seasons working closely with Kyle Shanahan and new Browns wide receivers coach Mike McDaniel was Moss’s receivers coach in Washington.
Impact on the starting line up: None. Moss could ultimately win the starting slot receiver job but he won’t be expected to start for any team which would bring him in. Moss would be terrific for the locker room as well as helping speed up some of the younger receivers in their assimilation to the new offense.
Level of Risk: Low. Moss is on his last legs and is likely going to have an uphill battle to make an impact as a top 3 target within an offense. Moss can still play on the NFL level, but it remains to be seen if teams will place enough of an emphasis on a veteran presence like Moss or use the roster spot for a younger player with long term potential.
Wade Smith – OG, Houston Texans
Potential Contract: Low level. Veteran minimum, depth signing.
What makes him fit: Scheme familiarity. Played in a similar “ZBS” for Gary Kubiak in Houston. Can play all 3 interior offensive line positions and provides experienced depth.
Impact on the starting line up: None. Smith has likely seen his final days as an every day starter. He is capable of a spot start here and there but recurring knee issues limit his long term impact.
Level of Risk: Low. Smith would be veteran depth/insurance in case the team fails to develop capable starting guards or land a starter in the draft. Signing Smith could potentially push John Greco off of the roster.
Daryn Colledge – OG, Arizona Cardinals
Potential Contract: Moderate. Likely a $2-3 million per season incentive laden deal, maybe even a veteran minimum deal from a contender.
What makes him fit: Colledge has terrific position versatility and can play all over the offensive line. His athletic and technical skill set also makes for an interesting fit within the “ZBS”.
Impact on the starting line up: Colledge would likely start at either left or right guard. He would likely face competition from Garrett Gilkey and Jason Pinkston, but if healthy is the superior player at this point.
Level of Risk: Low. Colledge is a better player than he has shown in Arizona the past two seasons. He could return to a higher level of play in between All-Pro’s Joe Thomas and Alex Mack.
Alex Carrington – DL, Buffalo Bills
Potential Contract: Low, likely an incentive laden deal. Carrington could have a surprising market given his impressive blend of size and versatility. The NFL is always eager to pay for pass rushing prowess and Carrington offers the potential to be a disruptive force from inside on passing downs.
What makes him fit: Carrington entered the 2013 season as the starting left end for Mike Pettine’s Buffalo defense. A torn quad ended his season in week 3, but Carrington was beginning to show promise and may ultimately look to continue that progression under Pettine in Cleveland.
Impact on the starting line up: None, unless the Browns plan on moving Ahtyba Rubin due to his high cap number entering the final year of his deal. Carrington would then battle Billy Winn, Armonty Bryant, and John Hughes for snaps across from Desmond Bryant.
Level of Risk: Low. Carrington has significant upside as an interior pass rusher and part of the defensive end rotation. Worst case scenario, his familiarity with the coaching staff will be an added benefit to those around him.
Jim Leonhard – S, Buffalo Bills
Potential Contract: Veteran minimum. Depth signing.
What makes him fit: Leonhard has played under Mike Pettine for 3 different NFL franchises and could be considered a coach on the field. Size limitations and injury issues have slowed him the past few seasons before starting 7 games in 2013 and setting career highs in interceptions and passes defensed.
Impact on the starting line up: None. The only way Leonhard makes a run at the starting line-up would be due to injury. Will likely be limited to spot duty in passing situations and special teams.
Level of Risk: None. Leonhard has gone on record stating that the 2014 will be his last in the NFL and he will likely enter any situation on the roster bubble.