With no CBA and no guarantee of football coming back in 2011, what better to do than to look at some of the potential moves the Browns could make to help make the jump from last, to at least better than the Bengals.
Some things the Browns will almost certainly be looking for, are wide receivers, lineman (offensive and defensive), help in the secondary potentially and maybe even linebackers, and then also some help in the backfield to spell Hillis. Basically every position not occupied by Colt McCoy, Peyton Hillis and Lawrence Vickers is potentially up for grabs, and even those positions could get some backups in.
The biggest potential offseason pickups are the players who have been recently released by their teams, Superbowl winner AJ Hawk, former Redskins running back Clinton Portis, tight end Donald Lee, ex-Jets defensive end Vernon Gholston and there are sure to be a few more available players at some point this offseason/until whenever there is football again. The guys that could fit best into the Browns plans would be the two former Ohio State defensive players, Hawk and Gholston. With the Browns transition to the 4-3 a solid pass rusher would be a good addition from the defensive end postition, while Gholston showed some promise at Ohio State he has been sackless since being drafted sixth overall by the Jets in 2008. And Hawk, a solid linebacker with the Packers, helping them to a Super Bowl championship this past season alongside Clay Matthews.
The most intriguing potential pick up to me is the possibility of adding a veteran running back to play behind Peyton Hillis. And to me, Clinton Portis could possibly be a great fit for the rebuilding Browns, a veteran back, who is (supposedly) a good locker room fit, could be a leader amongst the Browns offense, and while not needing to carry an offense like he has done for year in Washington he could be a spark with 5-10 carries a game or so. Darren Sproles, Ahmad Bradshaw and Ricky Williams are all unlikely to get resigned by their respective teams since San Diego has Tolbert and Matthews, Bradshaw, whose fumble problems will likely see him leave the Giants and Ricky Williams age might finally be too big of a factor for the Dolphins to overlook. While their own teams might not resign them they could all make good additions to the Browns backfield to help out Hillis a little bit.
Obviously since there is no CBA as of yet this is all highly speculative and even writing this might be a waste of time because who knows when we might have NFL football again. But hey, theres no harm in thinking about the next time we get to see our Browns, and who might be wearing a Browns jersey for the first time.