Sunday, September 03, 2006

Busy Saturday for the Browns

The Browns made a ton of roster moves yesterday, releasing 19 guys and--much to everyone's relief--finally working out a trade to snag veteran center Hank Fraley from the Philadelphia Eagles. There were some surprises, at least two of which were pretty pleasant as far as I'm concerned.

The first pleasant surprise was that the Browns cut Lee Suggs and put William Green on the injured reserve list, pending a financial settlement that's expected to result in his release. That means that as of right now, my guy, Jason Wright, is on the roster. I once had a coach whose slogan was "performance, not potential." It's nice to see that the Browns appear to have finally adopted that slogan when it comes to their running backs.

The second pleasant surprise was the release of Frisman Jackson, which puts Josh Cribbs into the mix as the fourth wide receiver. Cribbs is still learning the position, but he's explosive and fearless, and could develop into a playmaker if given a chance. It looks like the Browns have decided to give him that chance.

The other roster move that surprised me a bit was the release of NT Babatunde Oshinowo. Vinny and I were both pretty high on Oshinowo when the Browns drafted him, and he did make a splash in a couple of preseason games. The biggest knock on Oshinowo was probably his size. At a mere 302 lbs., he is undersized for the position. He's at least 20 pounds lighter than Ethan Kelley and J'vonne Parker, and is practically bite-sized compared to Mt. Washington.

The biggest roster move of the day was the Hank Fraley trade. Fraley was a solid performer for the Eagles, but was made expendable by the performance of Jamaal Jackson, the guy who replaced him when he missed eight games with a shoulder injury last year. There were rumors that the Eagles wouldn't do a deal with the Browns, because they were still smarting over the way Cleveland aced them out of signing LeCharles Bentley. Fortunately for the Browns, that turned out not to be the case.

Fraley's an over-achiever who probably doesn't get the respect he deserves. He has a reputation for being a cerebral player, which is sort of odd for a guy whose nickname is Honey Buns. Anyway, Fraley's reputation as a thinking man's player may explain why he was the subject of a lengthy profile a couple of years ago in The Atlantic Monthly, a publication whose interest in sports is usually on a par with that of Scientific American.

The bottom line is that while Fraley is no LeCharles Bentley, everyone except Ross Tucker thinks his acquisition represents a big upgrade to the Center position.

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