Bernie Kosar said it best on Wednesday, when he told us "free agency hasn't been a recipe that has been used to build a consistent winner". He's right. Historically, the teams that have added top-tier free agents, and went on to make a Super Bowl run, were already on the brink. Reggie White with the Packers, Kurt Warner with the Cardinals, Peyton Manning with the Broncos, to name a few. Still, the Browns' movement in free agency this week has been underwhelming, to say the least, and more than a little frustrating for the fans, some of whom are season-ticket holders and are facing the deadline to re-up (let me save you the suspense...they will).
The Browns have brought in a 35-year journeyman quarterback (Josh McCown), a reliable receiver (Brian Hartline), and a third-string quarterback (Thad Lewis) who's already been down this road with 'em before. This, despite having more than $40 million in cap space, and having already lost two key defensive players (Buster Skrine and Jabaal Sheard).
Some things are out of Ray Farmer's control. You can't blame him for not dishing out $25 mil to a good-but-not-great cornerback like Skrine, and you can't fault him if top-tier guys don't want to come here. Like many of his predecessors, Farmer inherited this mess, as Bernie pointed out. But it's not a good look for the Browns to be standing idle, while teams around the league load up.
The real pressure on Farmer, though, will come next month, at the NFL Draft. He has to hit big, much bigger than he did a year ago when he swung and seemingly missed (time will tell) on Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel. Unless Gilbert and Manziel prove, sooner than later, that they're not first-round flops, the Skrine defection and McCown signing will look even bigger, and worse, for the Browns,
Hopefully, they'll be far more impressive when they're on the clock at the Draft than they have been in the market this week.