Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Missing on Grimes not the end of the world for the Browns

2013_03_brent_grimes_miamiThe Cleveland Browns missed out on a chance to strengthen their secondary as free agent cornerback Brent Grimes reportedly agreed on Saturday to a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.

While it is disappointing as a healthy Grimes would have looked good in the secondary opposite cornerback Joe Haden, it is by no means the end of the world for the Browns.

First off, there is no guarantee that Grimes will be able to return to his former level as he is still recovering from the Achilles tear that knocked him out for the 2012 season in the opening game. While Grimes, who will turn 30 this year, told The Sun-Sentinel that he is “100 percent confident that I’ll be healthy in no time,” the reality is that players often struggle to return – especially at a position like defensive back that requires sudden stops, turns and other moves that stress the legs.

The Browns reportedly offered Grimes a contract for more than one year, but Grimes decided to bet on himself and sign a one-year deal with the Dolphins. If he can show he is the same player as he was in 2011 – when he was the third-best cornerback in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus – then Grimes can hit the free agent market again and look for a bigger payday.

That’s why it was smart for the Browns to offer a multi-year deal. If it turns out that Grimes was able to play at (or near) his previous level, the Browns would have prepaid for a second year of good play at a discounted price, rather than assuming the majority of the risk on a one-year deal.

The Grimes signing highlights a bigger lesson, however, mainly that there is no one player that the Browns “have to get.”

Think back to 2011 when many believed the Browns “had to get” quarterback Kevin Kolb from Philadelphia. Or to last year, when many claimed the Browns “had to get” quarterback Matt Flynn, the one-game wonder from Green Bay.

Well, where are Kolb and Flynn now? The Cardinals couldn’t wait to get rid of the Kolb after two disappointing seasons and Seattle liked the Flynn signing so much that they went out a month later and drafted Russell Wilson.

Now, Flynn may be heading to Oakland, unless the Raiders decide to go after Kolb, who may also go to Buffalo.

Boy, it would have been all kinds of fun if the Browns would have pulled the trigger on those “must have” players.

The Browns have done good things in free agency but they have not been flawless – CEO Joe Banner is not reinventing the wheel here, people. The team still has questions that need to be answered in the secondary, not just at cornerback but also at free safety.

While the free agent market has pretty much dried up (although Sheldon Brown is still unsigned), we suppose it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the new defensive coaching staff can work with what they currently have on the roster.

Plus the draft is just a little more than three weeks away, and the Browns could be looking at the likes of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner at No. 6. (While Milliner may not be there when the Browns pick, no one ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of Kansas City, Jacksonville, Oakland and Detroit, all among the teams drafting before the Browns).

The Browns could also select another edge rusher to add to defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s arsenal. After all, an improved pass rush means less time for opposing quarterbacks to make a decision, which helps cut down the coverage time for the defensive backs. As the New York Giants showed in their most recent Super Bowl, if you can pound on the quarterback consistently enough it may not matter who you have running around in the secondary.

Would the Browns have been better with Grimes on the roster? Probably.

But lets not abandon hope just yet. The final chapter in this off-season has yet to be written.

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2 thoughts on “Missing on Grimes not the end of the world for the Browns

  1. Pingback: While We’re Waiting… Reality sets in for Ohio State | WaitingForNextYear

  2. Pingback: While We’re Waiting… The waiting is the hardest part | WaitingForNextYear

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