How Do You like Ray Farmer’s free agent moves for the Cleveland Browns?

Farmer went to work right away, taking over the general managers job when Haslam III fired Lombardi. Some thought the Browns would be behind in the free agents process, seeing how Farmer only had weeks to prepare.

With the moves Farmer has made, he looks as though he was ready for this opportunity his whole life.

Farmer wasted little time bringing in the guys to replace TJ Ward, and line backer D’Qwell Jackson.

Signing free agent Karlos Dansby, not only brings in a veteran leadership, he comes to the Browns with a point to prove. Dansby has the attitude we as fans love to see.. He wants to make an immediate impact for the team. And he wants to be the best line-backer in the NFL.

At the age of 32, Dansby may not last for the term of his deal, but while he is on the field you can bet he is going to give 100%.

Farmer signed a one of Cleveland’s own home grown players with the Donte Whitner free agent signing

. Whitner is thrilled to return to the Cleveland area. He is a hard hitting safety who wears the tag of one of the hardest hitters in the NFL.

Whitner was a first round draft pick (8th-overall) for the Bills in the 2006 NFL draft. He brings that play-off ,mentality to the Browns and he knows what it takes to make it into the post season.

Whitner will take over where Ward left off. Then Farmer brought in corner-back Isaiah Trufant. This should help the Browns defensive secondary. Although Buster Skrine was a much improved player in 2013, the Browns lacked the depth needed in the secondary.

Trufant is better known for his special teams play with the Jets, rather than his corner-back play. Nonetheless, his signing with the Browns brings in a player with NFL experience that adds depth to the Browns defensive secondary.

Farmer then added a solid blocking tight end with the addition of Jim Dray.

Dray comes from the Arizona Cardinals and should be able to help open some holes for the Browns to establish a running game. The Browns will also need help on the offensive line and Dray’s blocking ability will help.

Farmer and his staff are still waiting to see what the Bengals are going to do about matching the offer Cleveland made to receiver Andrew Hawkins. Hawkins signed the Browns offer sheet and reports are saying the Bengals are liking not to match it.

The Browns sent the Hawkins offer to Cincinnati on Thursday, so the Bengals have 5 days to either match it, of lose Hawkins to the Browns.

So far, Farmer has made some solid moves. There is some concern over the age of the players. But in today’s NFL 32 isn’t what it used to be. Farmer and his staff still have a lot of pick in the up-coming NFL draft.

It would be great to see the Browns pick up receiver Sammy Watkins, if the receiver is still there at 4. I like the moves Farmer has made, and I think he has done a great job, after taking over the Browns front office just weeks ago.

Farmer being a former NFL player, has the edge over the old Browns front office. He is far better at talent evaluation than Lombardi was and I give him a A+ so far.



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Readers Comments (15)

  1. marty

    I don’t see the advantage points of the free agency picks. Ward was better than his replacement. Denver seems to be making the right moves. It is obvious the browns will draft a qb. I just want to see Sammy Watkins at 4. Little should be off and gone.

    • LG

      I sure hope they do pick Sammy @4 Marty….

      • derek

        How was Ward batter than Whitaker? Whitaker is better against the pass and missed 1 tackle per 30 attempts vs. Ward’s 1 miss out of every 9 tackle attempts.

        • LG

          Did I say Ward was better? I don’t think I said that. I do think I said Ward is always improving.

  2. Ronald

    I like the moves he has made. He’s filling holes, some of which he made. He brought back a home town guy that is excited to be here.

    Now maybe we can add Tate; I’m seeing he is actually in Cleveland. The snow posponed the meeting.

    The draft should be very interesting.

  3. james kirk

    With Ward gone , he’s at least plugged holes in the dyke .
    Who doesn’t like finger plugging dykes ?

  4. chuck

    I like the players added though each have been over paid and any time you do this $$$$ at a point in the future you will wish you had the two and three million over payment X 5 or 6 players.

    • LG

      I agree some are over-paid and to pay Dansby 24 m at 32 shows a great deal of confidence. I hope he delivers….

  5. BrownsFan4Ever

    Dansby is older then Jackson. Puzzling trade. Jackson has done so well in Cleveland. C- Whitner for Ward is a wash. No real gain there. C Picking up a tight end is good as long as it means cutting Little lose. He can’t catch a cold. His blocking is sub par. B Paying a 5’7″ $500k a year WR with 4 touchdowns in a three year career and a best year of 500+yrds receiving is mind boggling. It’s not a done deal but with all of the other high caliber WR’s still out there…this is looking like a really bad move. So far, same old same old in Browns town.

    • Ronald

      I think Little is a good blocker for a wide receiver. I’m surprised he is still around, though. I wouldn’t mind them trying him at tight end or even running back. He was a running in college before changing to WR.

  6. Leon II

    I think these were well reasoned moves by Farmer. First, all the talk I’m hearing about us over paying for Dansby and Whitner compared to what the Colts paid for Jackson and the Broncos paid for Ward is simply uninformed. It would have cost the Browns the same or more to keep them as we paid for their replacements – players will take less for a legitimate shot at a ring then to be on a rebuilding team.

    Now factor in durability. None of the players we signed have ever have missed significant time in their careers due to injury and Dansby and Whitner have only missed one game between the two of them in the last three years. Both Jackson and Ward have missed significant time due to injury in their careers. Let’s not even talk about Bess who Hawkins will hopefully replace.

    Then we get to the coverage issue. While Jackson is solid and Ward is excellent against the run both were burned in coverage. This showed in third down conversions last year where opposing teams knew all they had to do was avoid Joe Haden and a conversion through the air was almost assured. Both Dansby and Whitner grade out better against the pass and in Dansby’s case is even better then Jackson against the run. Additionally, Dansby makes impact plays, something Jackson failed to do last season. Dansby is a bit of a risk in that last season may have been a result of him trying to get paid but didn’t Ward do the same thing only becoming a Pro Bowler in his contract year.

    With Hawkins we have a proven slot receiver which we needed after the Bess debacle. With Dray we get the blocking tight end who is also a short yardage/end zone threat to compliment Cameron the receiving tight end. In Trufant we got a special teams ace and quality depth in the defensive backfield.

    Now lets talk about leadership and attitude. Both Jackson and Ward were leaders but leaders in a losing culture. Only Jackson saw a single winning season in their careers and even that season the Browns missed the playoffs. Dansby has spent over half his career on winning teams, has seen the playoffs multiple times, the NFC championship game twice, and the Super Bowl once. He came back to a losing Cardinals team and saw it turn into a winning team. He knows it can be done from experience.

    Whitner has been on teams with winning seasons during half his career, has been to the playoffs, to the NFC championship twice, and to the Super Bowl once. Additionally, he went to the 49ers that had not had a winning season in almost a decade, had seen constant turn over in the front office and coaching staff, and saw them make the play offs his first year there with a new head coach and GM. He knows it can be done from experience.

    Hawkins, three playoffs, Dray winning seasons on a team with a sudden turn around, and even Trufant has experienced more winning then losing seasons and has playoff experience.

    Are the Browns over paying – yes they had to for any free agent including our own. But the Browns have only slightly over paid and not as much as they would have for say a Byrd. In terms of quality we improved slightly in coverage and maybe took a very small step back against the run. On offense we have improved by adding needed though not sexy pieces – period.

    Will it work? We will see next season and in seasons to come if his attempt to change the culture through veteran leadership from winning teams. What we can say is that these were solid, well reasoned, cost effective moves that shows Farmer is thinking, not just reacting.

    • JIM V

      Leon II, Great informative article! You really did your homework.I do have a GUT Feeling, that Farmer knows what he’s doing! The draft & Summer Camp, I just can’t wait!

      • LG

        Leon II always posts a great response. And he always is very well prepared.

  7. Rick

    Leon II, I have to agree with your response. I think we are heading in the right direction but time will tell.

  8. Greg

    I liked TJ Ward but I think that Donte Whittner is a home run! I`m not familiar with Gansby & Dray. I’m not thrilled with the Hawkins offer. I think that Edelmann would be a better fit.


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