Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Browns Nation may need some Prozac

Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert spoke with the media on Thursday to offer up some very meager tidbits about the team’s plan for free agency and the NFL Draft.

And, judging by some of the comments from fans afterward, Browns Nation may need to re-up its prescription for Prozac before all is said and done.

Heckert said signing free agent quarterback Peyton Manning is “probably not a direction we’re going to go in.”

No problem with that.

The Browns believe there are four good quarterbacks in the upcoming draft: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weedon.

Again, so far so good.

The Browns will continue to work on a fair deal with running back Peyton Hillis. “If we can work things out, he’d like be here,” Heckert said. “And if we can do it, we’d like him to be here. Whether he has to wait till he sees what happens in free agency, that’s fine with us.”

We’re rolling along here people.

The team will look to make some improvements in free agency, but won’t be throwing money around. “To be honest with you, I don’t think there’s any position on our team that we don’t need to improve,” Heckert said. “I think we’re OK in some areas. Are we OK at receiver? I think we’re OK, but I think we can get better. On the offensive line, I think we’re OK. I think we’re OK in a lot of areas, but that’s not ideal. We obviously want to be good everywhere.”

As nice as it would be to sign someone like the Saints’ Carl Nicks to strengthen the offensive line, for example, Hicks wants to be the highest paid interior lineman in the league. Going wild in free agency just means the Browns run the risk of turning into the Carolina Panthers, who overspent last year to keep a 2-14 team together and are now a 6-10 team without salary cap space.

That also means the Browns won’t be signing a big-money quarterback in free agency.

We’re more than good with that.

The team hasn’t made a decision yet on what to do with their draft picks – trade up, trade down or stay the course. “I’d never say never about anything,” Heckert said.

Why anyone would be upset with Heckert not wanting to reveal the team’s plans is beyond us.

The comment that set off the biggest bout of agita, however, was when Heckert was asked bout incumbent quarterback Colt McCoy.

“We still think Colt can play in this league, and it’s our job to help him out,” Heckert said.

That single comment has led some fans to conclude the Browns are 100 percent sold on keeping McCoy at quarterback and the team is doomed to finish 4-12 forever and a day.

Of course, we can also conclude that what Heckert really wanted to say (bold is our addition): “We still think Colt can play in this league (just not in Cleveland), and it’s our job to help him out (by trading him).”

Seriously, why would Heckert trash one of the team’s players? If things don’t work out, the Browns may still need to live with McCoy at quarterback for another year. If they do bring in a new quarterback, they may still want McCoy as a backup or won’t want to devalue him any more in case they want to make a trade.

But no where in his comments does Heckert come close to saying the Browns are McCoy’s team no matter what.

Free agency doesn’t start until next week and the draft is still 48 days away. The Browns and the rest of the league haven’t even started playing the game yet, they are still busy setting up the board and getting their pieces in place.

So hang in there Browns fans. You just may be pleasantly surprised when all is said and done.

And, if not, just keep that prescription card handy.

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