By: Will Burge *Updated at 9:00pm*
Unlike the New Year that most people celebrate on December 31st, I am celebrating the NFL New Year in an empty room. I have no friends to celebrate with, no champagne to drink, and there is no free agent buzz to report about…yet.
This blog will continuously run throughout the day, check back often for the rumblings that I am hearing and the news that is breaking. If it affects the Browns, you will find it here.
-I keep hearing Pittsburgh and New England as potential landing spots for Peyton Hillis. It seems like New England is the more likely of the two suitors.
-I have heard some rumblings recently that the Browns may explore a trade with Houston for backup running back Ben Tate. When asked about that possibility, a league source said, "I haven't heard anything along those lines but let's put it this way it wouldn't surprise me."
-Jayme Mitchell was unhappy late last season when he was replaced at the starting defensive end position by Quinton Spears. A league source tells ESPN Cleveland that Mitchell's agent has, "been trying to reach the Browns since the combine to discuss Jayme's situation but have not been successful as of yet."
-The Plain Dealer is reporting that Phil Dawson has accepted the franchise tag from the Browns worth $3.8 Million. Tom Heckert told the media last week that a long-term deal with him is still the goal.
-The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Brad Maynard's agent said the Browns will not re-sign him. This leaves the team with Reggie Hodges at punter who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon he suffered during training camp last season.
-Mario Manningham told Cleveland.com today that he never thought about signing with Cleveland. He also said Cleveland is not a hot destination for free agents.
-The Browns have officially released OL Tony Pashos and P Richmond McGee.
- The Browns have also tendered WR Jordan Norwood and DL Brian Schaefering as well as extended the contract of OL John Greco.
-The Chicago Bears traded away two third round picks for dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall. This could be a move to clear way for Peyton Manning in Miami. This could affect the Browns if they sign either Manning or Flynn.
-Offensive tackle Eric Winston has officially been released by the Houston Texans. He will be highly pursued in free agency and Tony Grossi pegged him as a possible candidate for the Browns.
-ESPN is reporting that defensive end Mario Williams will visit the buffalo bills this evening.
- Wide receiver Robert Meachem will also visit the Buffalo Bills according to the NY Daily News.
-Cornerback Courtland Finnegan is scheduled to visit the St. Louis Rams on Friday according to ESPN.
-Wide receiver Pierre Garcon is reportedly in contract talks with the Washington redskins according to Yahoo Sports.
-Wide receiver Laurent Robinson is reportedly visiting Jacksonville tonight according to ESPN.
-My Fox Houston is reporting that offensive tackle Eric Winston will visit with Miami Dolphins.
-Pierre Garcon confirms via twitter that he will be signing with the Washington Redskins.
-Browns’ S TJ Ward tweets about the lack of movement in free agency by the Browns, “We obviously are developing our team through the draft. Big name free agents can be good but often aren't the solution.”
-ESPN is reporting that Washington is on the verge of signing wide receiver Josh Morgan.
-Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks reports that Cleveland is Matt Flynn’s 3rd option in free agency behind Miami and Seattle.
-Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk is reporting that Chicago is in deep negotiations with quarterback Jason Campbell.
-The Elyria Chronicle Telegram is reporting that the Browns have resigned TE Alex Smith to a one year deal.
-Adam Caplan is reporting that wide receiver Eddie Royal has agreed to terms with the Washington Redskins.
-Former Browns cast-off Eric Wright is reportedly being pursued by 3 teams: San Francisco, Washington, and Tampa Bay in the running for the cornerback.
-St. Ignatius grad and New England backup quarterback Brian Hoyer is reportedly looking to explore free agency to try and find a starting QB job. I reached out to Brian and he had no comment on the report at this time.
-The Sun-Sentinel is reporting that the Dolphins and Browns are negotiating with quarterback Matt Flynn and will be exchanging contract offers w his agent soon. I reached out to the browns for comment but have not heard back as of yet.
-I texted Browns PR and asked them if there was any truth to the report that they are currently negotiating with quarterback Matt Flynn they replied, “First I’ve heard of it.”
-The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Browns are interested in defensive end Jeremy Mincey. He is 28 years old and had 8 sacks in 16 starts last season.
-The Plain Dealer is reporting that Browns’ running back Peyton Hillis will visit the Kansas City Chiefs
-ESPN is reporting quarterback Jason Campbell has signed a 1 year deal with the Chicago Bears
-Our own Tony Grossi confirms the earlier report that tigh end Alex Smith has signed a 1 year deal with the Browns. He adds that the deal is non guaranteed.
Potential targets off the market:
-Mario Manningham WR (comments to Cleveland.com)
-Marques Colston WR (resigned with Saints for $40 Million, $19 Million guaranteed)
-Pierre Garcon WR (signing with the Redskins)
-Jason Campbell QB (sigend 1 yr deal with Bears)
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