The Browns have been disappointing every year since their return in 1999 with the exception of one season. That year was 2002, which featured the team’s only playoff appearance since the resurrection of Cleveland’s beloved football team. This offseason has been arguably the worst the team has had in my lifetime. In the time since the season ended on December 28, the Browns have experienced a scandal with the general manager and two incidents with key players.
The problems began in January when a cleveland.com report revealed that a “high-ranking personnel member texted from the press box to the sidelines about play calls” during a game. That official was general manager, Ray Farmer. As a result of “text gate,” Farmer is facing a fine and a multi-game suspension. The Browns could also potentially lose a draft pick because of the incident. On February 2, it was announced that quarterback, Johnny Manziel had entered a rehab facility. It was a step in the right direction for a talented player who spent too much time partying off the field last season. Two days later his teammate, Josh Gordon took a step in the wrong direction. Gordon was suspended by the NFL for one year for once again for violating the substance abuse policy.
As NFL free agency opened on March 10, the Browns continued to struggle by failing to bring in any big talent. Cleveland missed out on big free agents such as Trent Cole and Charles Clay. The Browns made some small signings by adding two journeymen quarterbacks in Josh McCown and Thad Lewis. Cleveland also signed veteran wide receiver, Brian Hartline to prepare for Gordon’s absence. The Browns seemed like they were ready to go into tank mode by sitting back quietly as some of leagues best players signed elsewhere. Cleveland has since woken up by signing some good, veteran talent this week. On Monday, the Browns agreed to deals with cornerback, Tramon Williams and defensive linemen, Randy Starks. Williams will replace former Browns corner, Buster Skrine, and he will undoubtedly be an upgrade. Starks is known as a run-stopper and is a sack master. He has 17.5 sacks in the past four seasons. The Browns continued to improve their receiving core by signing veteran, Dwayne Bowe. Bowe’s numbers have declined over the past couple years, but he still averaged 58 catches for 713 yards with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The signings of Williams, Starks, and Bowe show promise, but the Browns are far from a playoff contender. Johnny Manziel’s second season will prove if the team must continue to address the quarterback position. The Browns will also have to decide what future Josh Gordon has with the team after he returns from his suspension. There are so many issues in this organization not only on the field, but in the front office that it is extremely concerning. To have your general manager get in trouble for texting during a game is just pathetic. I have never been a fan of Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam, and it is evident that he may be incapable of restoring this franchise. If Haslam wants this team to win he needs to think of his fans. Browns fans are some of the most passionate in the NFL, but no one wants to go down to First Energy stadium to watch Josh McCown start at quarterback. Haslam and Farmer must improve this team now before they continue to lose their fans. Browns fans have suffered for far too long and we deserve better.