After a surprising 7-9 finish, the Cleveland Browns have various off-season issues that need to be addressed. Here are the three main storylines to watch.
Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel of Marcus Mariota? Only in Cleveland does a free agent quarterback such as Brian Hoyer and a lightning rod who struggled under center such as Johnny Manziel, garner so much attention and be—perhaps—the biggest off-season storyline in Northeast Ohio.
Hoyer, who went 7-6 as starting quarterback for the Browns is an unrestricted free agent. In 13 starts, Hoyer threw for 3,326 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. While Hoyer is likely to be nothing more than a caretaker or backup elsewhere, can Cleveland afford to let him walk based on Manziel’s disastrous performances vs Cincinnati and Carolina?
If you’re a Browns fan like this writer is, we all know about Manziel’s uneventful flop of a debut vs the Bengals and his season-ending hamstring injury vs. the Panthers. Couple that with his off-the-field antics and the Browns are now in the awkward spot of either overpaying for Hoyer, sitting Manziel or drafting another quarterback in the first round such as Marcus Mariota, when they have other holes to fill. Should be fun on the North Coast!
TextGate, Will The Browns Lose A First-Rounder? On top of the perpetually spinning carousel at quarterback in Cleveland this off-season, is the pending NFL investigation into Browns general manager Ray Farmer sending text messages to the sidelines during games. If found to be guilty of this, the Browns could stand to be fined—and lose draft picks, possibly their own first rounder—at No.12.
With various holes that need to be addressed at wide receiver–thanks to Josh Gordon’s latest relapse and Miles Austin likely to leave, tight end–thanks to Jordan Cameron being a free agent, offensive and defensive line and possibly QB, the potential loss of their own first rounder prevents them from landing a quality blue-chip prospect that could help them in 2015-16.
New “Cutting-Edge” Uniforms Set To Be Revealed: In perhaps the most anti-climactic storyline in recent memory, the traditionally-bland looking Browns uniform is getting a long-overdue overhaul. While current details are sketchy, other than that colors of brown, orange, white and reportedly a metallic gunmetal-like grey being added to the color scheme, not much of Cleveland’s new tops are known.
With word that they are a “happy medium” between Seattle and Minnesota, they will either be a much-needed upgrade or another wardrobe malfunction from Nike. All of Dawg Pound Nation waits on bated breath!