Here we go

Monday, March 12, 2018

The stage is set, the teams have their targets and all weíre waiting for is the green flag to get this thing all going.

I am talking, of course, about NFL free agency which gets going Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.

(I know, I know, March Madness. Look, I didnít watch the apparently dreadful selection show, and I simply didnít pay enough attention to the college basketball season ó an approach I have when collegiate basketball in the state of Iowa takes a season off ó to have any beneficial insight ahead of the tournament. I donít know who to pick. You donít know who to pick. Iíll write about it when my bracket is completely busted which should happen by about 6 p.m. on Thursday.)

This yearís NFL free agent pool keeps getting better and better with guys like Ndamukong Suh getting cut Monday. (Surprise, surprise a defensive tackle isnít worth a $26 million cap hit. I canít believe nobody thought of that when Miami signed that deal. Ö Everyone. Everyone thought that.)

Speaking of Miami and the salary cap, the Dolphins couldnít figure out how to appropriately pay Jarvis Landry, who only caught more balls (400) than any receiver ever over his first four years, so they franchise tagged him and sent him to the sadness factory in Cleveland.

Strangely enough, Cleveland might be doing Ö smart Ö things?

Possibly inspired by Koby Altmanís trade deadline heroics with the Cavaliers, the Browns started throwing around some of their massive draft capital to pick up Landry, Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Green Bay cornerback Damarious Randall.

Plus, theyíre rumored to be pushing hard to sign guys like New England left tackle Nate Solder and Ramsí cornerback Trumaine Johnson.

Honestly, other than the weather in Cleveland, the franchiseís historic levels of self-inflicted wounds and Hue Jackson being the head coach, the Browns have a pretty good shot at nabbing some top-tier talent in free agency.

That shot comes entirely from the checkbook where Cleveland has an astonishing $114,464,967 in cap space after the cap jumped 6.1 percent from $167 million last year to $177.2 million this coming season. (Even in a year riddled with ratings hysteria, protests and major injuries to major players, the NFL still made enough money to jump each teamís spending limit by $10 million. The League isnít going away any time soon.)

Plus, the Browns still have the first and fourth overall picks which likely will be used on a quarterback and whatever freak show athletic talent remains at four. (Theyíre basically guaranteed at least one of the Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb, Minkah Fitzpatrick trio. All good players, and all positions where the Browns could really use some help because theyíre the Browns.)

The Tyrod trade also takes Cleveland out of the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes which will almost 100 percent end up in Kirk making $30 million a year followed by him playing slightly above average for a couple years until whatever team signs him gives up and has to draft a guy. (Donít screw it up, Minnesota!)

The player movement leading up to this yearís free agency period and draft is probably somewhat close to normal but for some reason it feels like guys are just flying all over the league, and itís hard to stay on top of it all.

Who knows? Maybe five years down the line weíll look back and say 2018 was the year the Browns went from laughing stock to Ö team that doesnít start three quarterbacks every year?

Maybe thatís a pipe dream, but we canít all be as blunt as Odell Beckham Jr.