Browns could “double dip” with a raid on AFC North rivals

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The Browns have a lot of salary cap space and a need at quarterback, and so they’re a logical choice to make a move for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, if Baltimore uses only the non-exclusive franchise tender on Flacco. But Flacco may not be the only AFC North player the Browns are considering.

Tony Grossi of takes a look at the possibility that the Browns will “double dip,” which is what the former NFL executive Carmen Policy used to call a free-agent signing that helped your own team while carrying the simultaneous benefit of weakening an opponent. And it’s not just Flacco the Browns could be targeting off a division rival’s roster.

Ravens linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe could also be targets of the Browns, as could Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace and cornerback Keenan Lewis, or Bengals outside linebacker Manny Lawson and kicker Mike Nugent. If the Browns want to make a splash in free agency, grabbing a player from one of the three teams above them in the standings would make a lot of sense.

But it’s Flacco who would be a real game-changer. If he’s available, the Browns could turn the AFC North upside down by signing him to a contract the Ravens simply can’t afford to match.

87 responses to “Browns could “double dip” with a raid on AFC North rivals

  1. Sounds way to complicated for the Browns to implement. All their lakebilly fans would be confused.

  2. Get this garbage out of here. Flacco is not going anywhere, Ellerbe stays and Kruger probably has no interest in playing for the browns. Perennial losers. Only this year the steelers will be right alongside of them.

  3. On the flip side they’d be gambling away their future first rounders and bog themselves down in hefty cap eating contracts – all for players that may or may not thrive only when given adequate support.

  4. I can’t see any possible way the Ravens will let Flacco get away…

    but I gotta admit, Flacco’s arm throwing to Wallace downfield would be scary.

  5. I hardly think the Bengals would be sweating Manny Lawson or Mike Nugent … Josh Brown seemingly meshed well with the ST coach after Nugent got hurt midseason & then finished on IR, whereas it’s no better than 50/50 the Bengals would even sign the limited Lawson back minus any suitors, double-dippers or otherwise. You just pulled those names out of a hat?

  6. I’m still not totally convinced Flacco can be that team carrying guy. Did he have an awesome postseason? Yes. Do I have a ton more respect for him? Yes. Is his overall body of work still incredibly inconsistent? Yes.

    He also wouldn’t have the same weapons. This isn’t a shot at Flacco but things are much different when you can’t just hurl the ball over the middle and let Anquan Boldin just go it get it like he did several times in the playoffs.

  7. As a Bengals fan, Flacco to Cleveland would be an ironic twist of fate within the relationship of these two cities. That is Cleveland’s team….which Baltimore has enjoyed over the last 12-14 years. Sorry, the objective observer in me can’t digest the screw job which was bestowed on a dedicated fan base many years ago.

    That said, no way Flacco plays anywhere but Balt.

  8. Get this garbage out of here. Flacco is not going anywhere, Ellerbe stays and Kruger probably has no interest in playing for the browns. Perennial losers. Only this year the steelers will be right alongside of them.

    Seems like raven fans are getting nervous that their almighty house of cards is going to tumble….so many world of dreams crushed so easily… Rest easy it won’t happen, but its fun to watch the panic and the foaming at the mouth of raven fans…made my day

  9. So the Browns use a third round pick on Colt McCoy, and then two years later draft Brandon Weeden late in the first round, and a year after that they’re STILL considering spending big money on luring another quarterback to town?

    Oh yeah, and there’s no guarantee the QB they could be interested in will even hit the market if the Ravens re-sign Flacco.

    Only a franchise as hapless as the Browns would pin its hopes on a quarterback hitting the free agent market, despite his current team’s plans on re-signing him.

  10. Flacco isn’t leaving Baltimore. They will cut Suggs to re-sign him before letting him walk. With a switch back to the 3-4, Cleveland and Indianapolis will be in bidding wars for former Ravens players. AFC North players know how terrible Cleveland so the atmosphere edge goes to Indy.

    I suspect Indianapolis winds up with two of: Reed, Ellerbee, Kruger, Cary Williams and the other two go wherever. Pagano raided a ton of Ravens last year to get his defense to even a serviceable level last offseason so these guys will not only be playing with their former coordinator in a familiar scheme, they’ll be playing with former teammates.

  11. You act like all these people want to sign with the Browns over the Bengals, Ravens, Steelers…… Right…. Oh and Nugent and Lawson is likely gone anyway so they wouldn’t be stealing anything, and hurting no one.

  12. ‘Who would want to play in Cleveland? Flacco won’t. Wallace won’t.’

    Sorry to say that money talks. Any of those free agent Ravens would choose the money, as would nearly all other NFL guys. We’re fans, this is their profession. I can’t blame them. After paying Joe, it’s going to be impossible for the Ravens to pay all of their FA guys like Kruger, etc. Suggs has a big cap charge in 2013 too. And Wallace, would definitely take a big pay raise to play anywhere.

  13. Weeden did great against us. I know there was some key drops in the 1 st game against us . the browns should of won. The 2 nd game was close too. my opinion weeden out played Flacco both games. Brows should get some WR that can catch

  14. What does this nonsense keep coming up?

    Flacco isn’t going anywhere. Franchise QBs in their prime don’t hit FA. And Ozzie sure as hell isn’t going to let Joe walk.

    The only time Cleveland is going to sniff Flacco is when he’s smacking them around twice per year.

  15. Funny fantasy! Joe would take less money rather than play in Cleveland. He wants a top contract with a contender.
    Now Wallace on the other hand is the type of money first mercenary Cleveland could sign

  16. You mean like the coupe they pulled last year by signing Frostee Rucker away from the Bengals? Yeah, that worked out well…

  17. Flacco would be crazy to leave the Ravens for Cleveland even if they offered him big money. That’s just a silly thought. No way he leaves. And the Bengals losing Lawson and/or Nugent doesn’t bother me at all. Lawson never had a huge impact on our team and Nugent was replaced very well by Josh Brown last year after Nugent went out with an injury. You guys can have them!

  18. The Ravens will probably look smart no matter what they do thanks to Ozzy. Sign him to a respectable contract (12-17 Million) or let him go to someone for 2 first rounders. Flacco is a good QB, probably top 10, but he is 8, 9, 10 out of top 10. And he has done it by growing for years on the same team with a lot of the same players with a great defense. And the o-line really gelled, especially late in the year. He goes to Cleveland, KC, or any of the other bottom feeders and he becomes Cassel/Kolb 2.0.

    As a Bengal fan I would be fine seeing anyone overpay for him.

  19. Not to other teams, you don’t draft a 30 year old rookie QB in the first 5 rounds to be the franchise QB. EVER.

  20. My, how Mike Wallace has changed.

    I will openly admit a couple years ago having a major man-crush on Wallace. Man, how that kid could take the top off of any defensive scheme! Combine that with Ben’s playground “scamper a bit, throw off that puny corner that tried to blitz, then heave ho and pray” offense and you got a bazillion 80+ yard scoring plays. That was a ton of fun to watch.

    Then he held out of camp over the summer, which I spent slowly developing a nice dislike for him (on the personal level at least, as I had no idea of any impact on his skills or production).

    His lack of fitness at the beginning of the season, coupled with his cluelessness on the field – both clearly attributable to a poor off-field work ethic and no camp to “play into shape” or get the do’s and don’ts of the new playbook – well those two got me looking at Wallace with a very critical pair of eyes.

    These are the same eyes that used to ignore the “one trick pony” label from ravenator and other AFCN fans; and I have to admit in 2012 I saw a lot of go routes with the occasional slant (that long one was a beauty, maybe his lone bright spot of the season). Ok it was a 20-1 ratio, or at least felt like it 🙂

    Maybe I should be rooting for him to go to Cleveland, make them look real good for one year and then start holding out for that Megatron-sized contract he has fooled himself into believing is his market worth.

    Mostly I’m just surprised to watch a player go from one of the absolutely brightest offensive stars to “don’t let the door hit your rear on the way out” and in such a quick fashion!

    Cleveland fans, you really think he’s going to bring any horsepower to your offense, or is he the diva that so many of us are starting to suspect?

  21. The Ravens would cut some of their older players before letting Flacco walk at this point. Additionally they will be creative with the contract to keep talent around him as well. My canidates for being gone is as follows:

    1) Suggs
    2) Birk
    3) Reed

    Personally I think that Suggs is either gone or cut and resigned at a lower #. Oz noted that he will not restructure contracts as they did in 2001 and the team already has a great young nucleus to build on like McClellan, McAdoo, Hamilton (SWAC sack record holder over Robert Mathis), J Bynes.

    In Oz we trust is a saying in Baltimore.

  22. Flacco already has speedsters in Smith and Jones. …and both can stay healthy (and are probably better blockers than Wallace).

  23. I would advise any team that is interested in signing Paul Kruger that they should take a look at Kruger’s stats before Terrell Suggs returned and after he returned. He had 1.5 sacks in 7 games w/out Suggs playing opposite him and 7.5 sacks after. There is nothing wrong with that, but just be warned that you need a strong player opposite him for Kruger to be effective.

  24. Only the clowns would take their division rivals FA because they can’t draft. Of course, those players are FA for a reason.

    Happy rebuilding for the umpteenth straight year!

  25. A) Flacco is not going to be available for the Browns to sign and B) No way he signs a contract with them. I think it’s time to stop with this silly speculation; Flacco will be with the Ravens for a long time.

  26. The browns always want to be like someone else. For years they tried to get the next Bilichek. Now they have a former Steelers owner and now are trying to get Steeler/Raven players

  27. Joe Flacco and Mike Wallace would make quite the Cleveland combo -xmiksticky

    RGIII to Julio Jones would have been quite the combo, not to mention more probable.

  28. Yea, the Browns are quite the organization to pull something like this off. Rather they are an organization where veterans go to die and young players yearn to leave.

    Just like all the elite smack talk that swirled around Joe last year I’m sure he’ s laughing just as hard at the rumors of him leaving for CLEVELAND…

  29. The question should be does any player really want to go to Cleveland?

    Seriously, I’m just trying to remember the last time they landed a big freeagent. Shaun Rogers was it (without searching the internet)?

    I’d say Cleveland needs to concentrate on drafting better instead of rolling a crap shoot every year with over paying players that will get content and lazy.

    None of the so-called elite teams look to freeagency as the main component to getting better with the exception of Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

    Freeagency should be used for supplemental reasons only to improving a team, See the Ravens, Steelers, Patriots, Giants, etc.

  30. All I know, is that Cleveland is in excellent cap shape this year, and its making the AFC North opponents’ palms sweat. TheBengals and the Browns are about to turn the AFC North upside down. Let see how many Ravens fans show up, when they are terrible for a few years. It’s great to watch you guys squirm. You Ravens fans should be mad at Ozzie and Joe. Both of them together are going to cause salary cap hell for the you guys, for years to come. Should’ve locked him up last year Oz!

  31. Money talks, and football players want to get the most they can, while they can! They don’t care if they play in Miami, Baltimore, Pit, Dallas, or Cleveland. MONEY TALKS!

  32. Let me get this straight. Your saying there is a possibility that Cleveland could take Wallace. The Steelers get rid of a non-professional who will never grasp his full potential and isn’t a true Steeler and the Browns will overpay for him and he will will sink their team in big spots. Sign me UP!

  33. This is clearly a play to force the Ravens to tag Flacco with the Exclusive Franchise tender (~$20 mil/yr).

    The higher the Browns (or anyone) drive up the cost – the better it is for Flacco’s wallet and the worse it is for the Ravens cap problems. If they use the non-exclusive tender ($14 mil/yr) they will piss off Joe and risk losing him if someone makes an offer.

    Flacco thinks he should be the highest paid QB and the Ravens definitely can’t afford that. He turned down a $16 mil/yr contract LAST year, so he isn’t taking any less than that.

  34. Remember that these Ravens have their rings now and staying together as a team is likely less important than money.

  35. Pretty funny if Flunko went from the Baltimore Browns to the Cleveland Browns but it won’t happen. His performance in the playoffs will make the Balt Browns over pay and crush them cap-wise in future years. Elite my A$$…

  36. Hey brownstain,

    You’re dreaming if you think Flacco would accept a hometown discount to stay just to keep the team together. Keep in mind that he turned down an extension last year because he wanted to be paid on par with Manning, Brady and Brees. Now Flacco has the hammer.

    Besides, as in all walks of life, it is ALWAYS about the money.

  37. Until Flacco signs with the Ravens or the Ravens put the exclusive franchise tag on him, this isn’t mere speculation. And the Ravens allowed this to happen by not signing him sooner.

    This Browns fan would relish seeing Flacco standing at a podium in Cleveland, saying “I had no choice.”

    Conversely, this Browns fan would relish seeing the Ravens go to salary cap hell by having to make Flacco the top paid QB in the league in order to keep him.

  38. If the Browns add Mike Wallace and Kruger, trade for Matt Flynn from Seattle, and then come back and add another cornerback from the draft, they’ll have something going.

  39. Oh please, Brownies, take Mike Wallace away, so all of us Steeler fans can enjoy laughing as he runs the incorrect route and drops passes for you for the next few years. Or maybe he will have one monster season then hold out again…

    Flacco?? Really? I am not too sure if two”one trick ponies” on one team would work too well.

  40. And if Cleveland would have just given up their first three picks (2 #1’s and #2) last year and their number one this year, they would have had RGIII for a reasonable contract. And Haslem may have been inclined to keep Heckert and Shurmer, if not Holmgren.

  41. As far as Bengals players go, I’m pretty sure the Bengals would be more concerned about losing Thomas Howard and Andre Smith vs Lawson and Nugent. I think Pacman is also a FA and he had a decent year.
    I don’t remember Lawson making a play all year.

  42. I love all you d bags that think you kniw whats going on in a players mind. “Ohh he wont go there cause of this, or he wont do that cause hes loyal”. Just stop. Young players want to get paid period. Dont matter where. So stop trying to tell us that Kruger or Wallace or even Flacco wont go where the biggest pay day is, cause you dont know. Donkies

  43. No way does Wallace want to go farther north. I am sure the Browns are interested, but with 30 other possibilities, I don’t think so. Wallace has had enough of AFC North. He will glance south or west first. Just watch.

  44. For everyone saying “Ozzie welcome to salary cap hell”… everyone should be saying “Ozzie, I guess this is what happens when you draft too well!” Does anyone realize we are only in this position because he drafts so well? He knows what he is doing. He will manage the cap just like every year. He will keep the valuable players he knows he needs and then just fill in the rest via the draft. Almost all of our big contracts are going to home grown players: Suggs, Yanda, Ngata, Webb, Flacco, Rice, Kruger, Ellerbee, etc… guess there is a downside to drafting too well!

  45. How can you even compare Mike Wallace to Joe Flacco on what he would do? Has Mike Wallace ever reminded me of a diva? Yes. Do I think he’d put himself above a team? Yes. Could I see him chasing any team that overpays him and not care? Yes.

    Do I see Flacco falling into any of those categories? No. I see Joe signing a deal in Baltimore for 5-7 years for whatever money he wants and manageable cap hits early to give the team flexibility.

  46. As usual, Tony ‘The Tweet’ Grossi has it all wrong.

    All these complicated transactions are way beyond the abilities of the Browns’ Personnel VP, Mike Lombardturd.

    He will be more inclined to bring in players that he has touted over the years in his ESPN and writings–players like Jamorca Russell, Ryan Leaf, Matt Lienturd, Braylon Edwards and Brian Robiskie. Then he will fill out the roster with the draft, larging using recommendations from his Mel Kiper Premium suscription.

  47. So to summarize this entire article- the Browns have cap space, and here’s the list of notable free agents in the AFCN that they will most likely go after because they have cap space and a terrible team.

    Got it.

    Reality- if a guy like Wallace had an offer from Miami and a matching offer from Cleveland, where do you think he’ll go? Same goes for guys like Kruger or Lawson- they’ve spent years watching Cleveland crumble. If other teams are matching offers from Cleveland, why would they choose the team that sits on the bottom of a stacked division with a substantially lower probability of winning a Lombardi, let alone making the playoffs? Logic fail.

  48. kabasaman says:Feb 12, 2013 9:49 AM

    Go Browns…. I’d love to see the Browns become competetive. The new owner is the key. Remember the Glory Days

    Many posters on this site weren’t alive during Clevelands “glory days” so forgive us for not remembering.

  49. It would take about $30 million a year for Flacco to leave Baltimore for Cleveland. I think Flacco has a little more loyalty to Baltimore than to leave for a few extra million, especially for Cleveland.

  50. All you Bungle and Clown fans talking trash about Ozzie because we are “stuck” paying for a franchise QB make me LMAO.

    I would much rather be in the position we are in than in the position of the Browns. They still don’t know who their QB of the future. And Cincy thought it was Dalton, but after a mediocre second season, now they are having ?’s as well.

    Suggs is going nowhere. Even if you cut him the cap savings is 1.3 million and the dead money is in the 13 million range. The guy that may get revamped is Ngata. He has not earned his contract since he became injury suspect. But again, the cap savings are not all that much.

    This is not the greatest situation, but there have been worse. And by seasons end we will again be in the hunt for the playoffs and the Clowns will be thinking about the draft.

    The Flacco to the Browns rumor is too incredible to even consider.

  51. I don’t understand the constant chorus of articles suggesting Flacco will leave the Ravens–especially for the Browns. Do you really think Joe wants to celebrate his Super Bowl win by torpedoing his career? The guy isn’t stupid.

    As for Mike Wallace … the Browns can have him. I watched the Steelers wave good-bye to Burress, Washington, and Holmes but continue to succeed. Meanwhile, we had in Hines Ward a receiver who blocked when we needed blocking, who never complained about not getting the ball enough or said he couldn’t catch because he’d lost focus while we ran the ball. Divas belong on opera stages and Paris fashion runways–not football fields.

  52. Browns would not be able to protect him with the O line…

    Wallace can’t catch.

    I prefer Flacco stays in Balt and destroys their cap. Could care less where Wallace goes.

    Go Steelers!

  53. do we forget history that quickly? paul kruger will join the long list of ravens linebackers to leave for big money only to disappoint

    good riddance, after upshaw was drafted you were gone after this year no matter what

    and flacco would still have to agree to play for the browns, something i dont see him doing no matter what the contract is

  54. I cant see Flacco going to the browns. But if the oppertunity arises i think he declines any offer they give him. He would fail in cleveland due to no supporting cast. But its true that Kruger is gone and Cary, and Leach and Birk, Bobbie Williams, Kemo, Possibly McClain, Cody, Doss. But the Ravens are so good at hiding talent we have players with serious potential nobody knows about like Hamilton, McAdoo, Thompson, Streeter, Bynes, C.Thompson, Tyson, Cook, Cornel, Boren. So even though we may lose as few alot of young hungry talent will get a chance to shine. If you can think back to every off season guys go and we freak out only to be replaced by an unknown that gets the job done. Plus Kruger is good but Upshaw is better.

  55. Browns would instantly be better with a receiver like Wallace. Weeden isn’t good, but he has a great deep-ball. Wallace would have to draw double-teams which would really free-up the running game and Josh Gordon.

  56. I sense that some of the folks in Baltimore are starting to tremble in their Lazyboys.
    Holmgren and Heckert drafted poorly with regards to the QB position. Banner and Lombardi have an opportunity to clean that mess up.

  57. Firstly, this reported by Tony Grossi, so who cares? Secondly, why would Flacco or Wallace want to play for a terminal loser like the Browns?

    Let’s put crazy ideas in a hat, pull them out and report them.

  58. Boy, the press loves themselves some JOE FLACCO now don’t they?

    As a fan right now, the only thing you can do is ignore all of the articles like this. They are mostly speculation and have no motive other tyan stirring up the emotions of the fans.

    I’ll let Ozzie do his magic. And Joe WILL be a Ravens next year, you can count on that.

  59. howiefeltersnatch says:
    Feb 12, 2013 8:23 AM
    Stop with the Flacco to Cleveland silliness already. The only guy on that list I want is Kruger.


    If anyone wants Kruger, let them have him. When is the last time a player drafted and grown by the Ravens went on to accomplish anything? Remember the likes of Bart Scott, Adalius Thomas, Dwan Edwards, Jason Brown etc etc…

    Buyer beware. History is against you.

  60. Nofoolnodrool says:

    Seems like raven fans are getting nervous that their almighty house of cards is going to tumble….so many world of dreams crushed so easily… Rest easy it won’t happen, but its fun to watch the panic and the foaming at the mouth of raven fans…made my day
    This Steelers fan didn’t see any “house of cards” from the Ravens during the playoffs this year. They were a solid team that fairly eassily took care of Indy, came out on top in a war in Denver, kicked New England’s butt in the second half and the Niners in the first-plus.

    Let’s face it, we’re in no position to criticize Baltimore right now. They’re the SB champs, we’re coming off 8-8. Show them the same respect we’ve expected after our team has won it all. They’re the champs, not the Bengals.

  61. As a Bengals fan, Flacco to Cleveland would be an ironic twist of fate within the relationship of these two cities. That is Cleveland’s team….which Baltimore has enjoyed over the last 12-14 years. Sorry, the objective observer in me can’t digest the screw job which was bestowed on a dedicated fan base many years ago

    Not even close. The last Browns player to leave the Ravens was Matt Stover. There were only 2 browns players on the roster in 1999, and only Stover on the 2000-2001 superbowl team.

    Your statement is just the mindless droning of someone frustrated at the Raven’s success, where your team has none.

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