Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi
Extra Points …
The hunt must go on: In 2011, the Browns claimed the most drops in the NFL, the fewest 100-yard receiving games (one), the second-fewest yards per passing attempt (5.79), and the fifth-fewest touchdown receptions (16).
Since the 2012 transaction season kicked off in March, these are the receivers the Browns pursued: NFL free agents Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, and Baylor prospect Kendall Wright.
And these are the receivers the Browns drafted or signed: Miami’s Travis Benjamin, selected in the fourth round of the draft; and undrafted free agents Josh Cooper of Oklahoma State, Bert Reed of Florida State, and Jermaine Saffold of Missouri State.
In the words of the exquisite Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is?”
The latest candidate: The Redskins blew out the Browns with big money offers to Garcon and Morgan. Today, they released their leading receiver from a year ago, Jabar Gaffney. Within minutes, the Tweets were all the same: Will the Browns sign Jabar Gaffney?
The short answer is they haven’t shown interest yet, according to a league source. The next question is: why not?
At the age of 31 and in his 10th year, Gaffney posted his best season: 68 catches, 947 yards and five TDs. He did so while Washington labored with journeyman quarterbacks Rex Grossman and John Beck.
After the Redskins officially selected Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III to lead the team out of their doldrums, they gave him Gaffney’s jersey No. 10.
Gaffney isn’t a receiver who threatens defenses and does not pile up the yards-after-catch. That was a big issue with Washington coach Mike Shanahan. But he is consistent and a good route-runner – something the Browns sorely lack in their receiving game. Gaffney also sounded newly inspired and motivated by the shock of his release.
He told the Washington Post that his next team will get “a guy that does nothing but work hard, and will come in and make plays. I had a chip on my shoulder when Washington traded for me and I performed. I have that much more of a chip and will keep on performing for whatever team I’m playing for.”
If not Gaffney, then whom?: Here is a partial list of receivers still unsigned and looking for work:
Bernard Berrian, Plaxico Burress, Greg Camarillo, Mark Clayton, Patrick Crayton, Braylon Edwards, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Maurice Stovall, Roy Williams. Jacoby Jones soon may join the list if Houston can’t trade him.
It’s not a great list. Gaffney’s better than all of them.
Take it away, Peggy Lee.
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball.
If that’s all there is.
Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com.
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to email@example.com
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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