Cleveland Browns: Almost a Patriot Farm Team?
The New England Patriots have made many castoffs from other teams into great role players and they have done well with former Cleveland Browns
This article is not advocating a conspiracy theory that the Cleveland Browns have been acting as a farm team for the New England Patriots. It just seems like it. This all starts with coach Bill Belichick, whose first head coaching job was with Art Modell and the Cleveland Browns. Art fired Belichick, giving himself the dubious distinction of being the owner who fired both Paul Brown and Bill Belichick, two of the top coaches in pro football history. Way to go, Art.
At any rate, Belichick’s hobby seems to be collecting players from the team that fired him. The Patriots won their first Super Bowl with two starters gift-wrapped by the Browns — wide receiver David Patten and defensive end Anthony Pleasant.
Patten managed to collect three rings with the Pats (2001, 2003, 2004) and Pleasant earned two. Earthwind Moreland also was a bit player in 2004.
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Amazingly, the Patriots have never won the Super Bowl without at least one ex-Brown having been on the roster. The 2014 season was the closest they came to zero former Browns, with WR Bryan Tyms being the lone ex-Brown, appearing in 11 games.
The 2016 Patriots had an incredible 14 former Browns on its roster as estimated by Randy Oliver in Daily Snark Sep 19, 2016, and they still won the Super Bowl.
Funny thing, the Browns got rid of Jabaal Sheard in favor of the younger Barkevious Mingo, and then they wound up sending Mingo to the Pats as well. Halfback Dion Lewis also started for the Patriots but most of the ex-Browns didn’t stay on the Patriots long. so it was not quite as bad as it sounds.
RB Dion Lewis (starter)
WR Brian Tyms
WR Perez Ashford
WR Reggie Dunn
OL Keavon Milton
OL Braxston Cave
OL Caylin Hauptmann
DE Jabaal Sheard (starter)
DE Cam Henderson
DT John Hughes
DT Ishmaa’ily Kitchen
LB Eric Martin
LB Barkevious Mingo
LS Christian Yount in 2017, ex-Brown Brian Hoyer was signed to replace Jimmy Garoppolo. Hoyer went 10-6 for the Browns in his career, so no wonder they could not stand him. Perhaps he was not really into the “mentor” role for alcoholic spoiled brat Johnny Manziel, but he was good enough to make the Patriots team.
Johnson Bademosi was a special teams ace and contributed as an extra DB. Ken Britt was terrible for the Browns and still terrible for the Patriots despite his obvious ability. Scuttlebutt from New England was that in one game Britt ran a bad route which resulted in a Brady interception.
After the game, Brady took full blame upon himself for the INT, but Ken Britt never played another down for the Patriots. Perhaps there’s a lesson or two in that story.
RB Dion Lewis (Starter)
DB Johnson Bademosi
WR Kenny Britt
QB Brian Hoyer
The 2018 team has had four Browns who have played important roles. Jason McCourty was a true professional with the Browns and has continued that way for New England, teaming with his brother Devin. It has never been revealed why McCourty left Cleveland, but presumably, he was unhappy with some aspect of the team and was allowed to leave.
Similarly, we do not know why Danny Shelton was dealt to New England, but in this case, the Browns wound up with a third-round pick, which is reasonable compensation for a somewhat underachieving defensive lineman. Shelton has been inactive with the Patriots the past few weeks, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t resurface in the Super Bowl.
Former All-Pro Josh Gordon was traded to New England for a sixth-round pick and took a temporary retirement from using drugs to haul in over 700 receiving yards before returning to his tragic, self-destructive course. Browns fans seemed to feel vindicated when that happened. Still, a fifth-round draft pick is not worth that much, and though Gordon was not available for the playoffs he did play a major role in getting the Patriots there. That is certainly worth a fifth-round pick.
CB Jason McCourty (Starter)
QB Brian Hoyer (2nd string)
DT Danny Shelton (Sometimes starter but inactive lately)
WR Josh Gordon (Starter when eligible to play)
It’s kind of amazing that a team as bad as the Browns has been able to supply the Patriots with so many good players. It’s probably not a complete coincidence, because the Browns have lacked good talent evaluation skills and thus let go of more than their share of viable players. The Patriots have had better scouting and are able to take advantage of mistakes made in the Cleveland front office.
There is very good reason for optimism that the Dorsey front office will continue to close the gap between the Browns and Patriots. Perhaps fewer good players will get away in the future.
Dawg Pound Daily wishes to squash any rumors that the Browns will move to Pawtucket in order to be a farm team for New England.