Cleveland Browns Free Agency: Diving Deeper into Offense Rumors

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As the 2015 “legal tampering” period continues on, the Cleveland Browns front office has been pretty quiet in comparison to the rest of the league. With the biggest news of the day coming in regard to extending qualifying offers to their restricted free agents not so long ago, many are growing restless with less than 24 hours until the official commencement of the 2015 free agency period.

For this reason—and in an attempt to calm the masses—I have done some detective work to try and track down and dive deeper into some of the latest rumors regarding the Browns.

First up on the list on today’s free agency rumors list is the great WalterFootball.com. Walter has a complete list of all of the latest rumors on the site, which dates back to late January for the Browns. We will address a few of the ones that seem to have merit.

“3/8: The Browns, Broncos, Jaguars, Raiders and Seahawks are ‘in play’ for Julius Thomas. – Rand Getlin, Yahoo!”

The simple fact that the Browns are linked to Thomas is a good sign for the organization, but he is likely to command a dollar amount that may be too high for the organization to truly take part in. With Jordan Cameron likely out because he is seeking a change of scenery and more money, it seems the team is looking more into mid-tier tight end targets to fill the void of “pass catcher” in their offense.

The addition of Thomas would be a big one for the Browns this offseason.
The addition of Thomas would be a big one for the Browns this offseason.

To play the optimistic role, Thomas would bring a red zone threat the Browns have lacked for quite some time. With Peyton Manning as his QB, Thomas literally came out of nowhere to rack up 24 touchdowns in two seasons. In his career, he has caught 109 passes for 1,282 yards—with all but one catch for five yards coming in the last two seasons.

“3/7: Raiders did Andre Holmes a solid with a low tender. Will likely get a good offer sheet now. Expecting Browns to be among interested. – Jeremy Fowler, ESPN.”

At 26-years old, Holmes has the size (6’4” and 208 pounds) and speed to be a major game-changer as a wide receiver. However, it took him two seasons to really get a shot—which he finally got in Oakland in 2013 and 2014, racking up 72 catches for 1,124 yards and five touchdowns.

With new Browns offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo, getting a first-hand look at his growth, the Browns will certainly be among those who are interested in the potential big-play receiver. He would certainly be a nice depth addition with upside, but the team will still need to find a legit No. 1 receiving option in the draft to solidify their group.

Next up on the Browns free agency Rumors List is CBS Sports. According to a report from Jason Butt, “The Raiders and Browns will both to try sign tight end Jermaine Gresham once free agency officially opens on Tuesday, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports.”

Signing Gresham would be the second Bengal in two seasons (Andrew Hawkins) general manager Ray Farmer has plucked away from their in-state rival. Highly touted out of Oklahoma, Gresham has never developed into the big-time pass catcher many projected after he was taken in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

At 26-years old, Gresham has caught 280 passes for 2,722 yards and 24 touchdowns in five seasons in Cincinnati. He has played in 74-of-80 games throughout his career, with his best season coming in 2012. In that year, he finished with 64 receptions for 737 yards and five touchdowns.

Despite that big season, the Bengals followed up by selecting tight end Tyler Eifert out of Notre Dame in the 2013 NFL Draft with the No. 21 overall pick. According to the Cincy Jungle in regard to Gresham, “…he’s also fumbled 11 times (losing six) while dealing with a migraine-inducing amount of penalties.” So, there are some concerns there.

With all of this in mind, a move to give Gresham a fresh start in Cleveland would be a solid one in my eyes. He is the anti-Cameron in terms of staying healthy, and may just need a confidence boost of being “the guy” after the Bengals seemingly bailed on that belief a year after his breakout season.

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Bob is the Founder, Site Director and Senior Writer of Cleveland Sports Zone. He has been writing about sports for over nine years thanks to his passion for Cleveland sports and a Journalism degree. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, ESPN, USA Today and other major sports networks.

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