This article, as linked by PFT, has a blurb saying the Packers and three other teams were trying to trade for FB Terrelle Smith before the Browns cut him.
My first thought: Why the heck would we cut him, if we could have gotten something for him?
We'll probably never know why, considering this franchise won't even admit the extent of player injuries. But I assume that the other teams were planning on playing the waiting game until after Smith got the roster bonus the Browns owed him in the upcoming weeks. So, we either had to put our money where our mouth is, by paying the roster bonus in the HOPES of getting a trade, or we had to cut him to avoid using cap space on a guy who won't be around next year.
I guess it makes sense if the trade value was pretty small (like a 7th round pick). Hopefully that was the case. I'd hate to think Randy Lerner was just trying to save cash at the expense of possibly improving the team through extra draft picks.
In any case, at least the potential trade explains why we held onto a veteran to his detriment rather than cutting him at the beginning of free agency, which I believe is SOP if you don't want to be known as a team that screws their players.
Speaking of Lerner and trading for draft picks, this NFL.com story, if true, gives some very interesting details. It claims that Lerner is directing Savage to draft a QB, and that Detroit is pushing a hard sell to force us to give them the farm so we can swap picks.
Now, before getting too worked up, lets keep in mind that the "NFL sources" that gave the writer this info are probably just Lions management that want to drum up a trade market for their draft pick. Its just like politicians anonymously leaking skewed classified information that supports their agenda (if that ever happened, which I'm sure it hasn't). So the Lions hope is that, even if Cleveland doesn't go for broke to trade up for a QB, another team like Houston or Minnesota will believe that we will, so they will go for broke to win the derby.
Lets consider the facts:
> Its still not a forgone conclusion that Oakland is going to take a QB. Rumors are running rampant that Oakland might trade Randy Moss for Packers backup QB Aaron Rodgers. If this comes about, this would have a huge impact on the draft, because Oakland would have MUCH less need to draft a QB (which they have proven to be loath to do by passing on Matt Leinart last year) and much more in need of a WR, like top-rated prospect Calvin Johnson. And if Oakland takes Johnson, both Russell and Quinn will be there at two, meaning the Browns would be assured of getting one of the two no matter what.
> A big deciding factor in whether or not someone will trade up to 2 is whether or not they believe Detroit will take a QB. After all, if Detroit isn't going to take a QB, then no one will want to trade up to 2 when they can trade up to 3 for alot less and still get the guy they want (unless they're convinced that the Browns WILL take a QB, no matter what is offered in a trade, but I can't believe that Phil Savage would mortgage our future like that). Now, Detroit also passed on Matt Leinart last year, and with the Joey Harrington debacle still hanging over Matt Millen's head, and also taking into account their rumored man-crush on Joe Thomas, they are going to have to do ALOT of selling to convince other teams that they really will pull the trigger on a QB.
> Even if Detroit makes a convincing sell that they will take a QB, lets not count out Phil Savage's self-restraint. As Exhibit A, I point you to the days and seconds leading up to the 2005 draft: In '05, Miami put out an enormously hard sell trying to get us to trade up for Braylon Edwards, to the point that Braylon was expecting to have a Lions hat on his head at any moment. And Savage really wanted Edwards, not only because he was the best player (by what was known then, not now), but because we didn't have too many better options if we didn't get Edwards. After all, the next guys off the board were Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams, Adam "Pacman" "Multiple Felon" Jones, and Troy "Blind & Butterfingers" Williamson, all of whom would probably have been worse picks than Edwards. But even under those pressing circumstances, Phil kept a calm head and didn't bite, saving valuable draft picks and STILL getting the guy he wanted. And this year, he'll have some pretty good fall-back options in Joe Thomas (if no QBs are left) or Adrian Peterson.
> If Phil has to take a QB this year, he could still wait until round two or three and get Troy Smith (although that might be going overboard on the Smiths). Not that Troy Smith is being thrown around as a sure-fire franchise QB, but bringing him to Cleveland would drum up more fan-base excitement than either of the other top two QBs.
So don't get worked up about any rumors that come out over the next month and a half. There's still alot of hands to play. For now, keep your eye on the Moss for Rodgers deal. If that goes down, we're pretty much guaranteed to have a QB fall to us at 3, whether we decide to draft him or trade down.