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Trade Rumours Abound as NFL Owners Meet

This week, Randy Lerner and the other NFL owners get together to meet in California.

This year, the mood is different. Economic times are tough. Labour strife could be bubbling. And there is a score of new management regimes throughout the league.

Mangini and Kokinis have been very tight-lipped about roster changes thus far (we have absolutely no complaint about that unlike some other media commentators). Notwithstanding that mystique, we are confident that the Team will make further trades. In fact, we believe that there is hardly a single player on the Browns squad that the current regime would not trade in order to make the Team better. Again, we agree with that approach. We are a bad football Team; this is not the time to be giving some players a free pass. We think that the only player who is probably trade-safe is Pro Bowl offensive lineman Joe Thomas. Mangini has spoke glowingly about him, and the Team wants Joe to become the face of the franchise going forward. Trading Thomas would also be totally inconsistent with the Team's current approach to strengthening the offensive line by picking up "Pork Chop" Womack and St. Clair.

We would not be surprised if two of the following high profile Browns players are gone before the season starts: Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Braylon Edwards and Shaun Rogers. Of the quarterbacks, we would trade Anderson before Quinn because Derek is still worth something decent in return even if it is an early third round draft pick. If Derek is traded and we keep Quinn, however, we must pick up a veteran quarterback to support and mentor Brady (someone like Rex Grossman).

Those four Browns players have been the subject of rampant trade talk for a while now. Much of that talk is just that, however, it is not going away which suggests there might be some credence to it. Some in the media blame Mangini and Kokinis for not publicly addressing the trade rumours. We disagree - there is nothing wrong with remaining silent to test the market to see what we would get for these guys. Besides, it keeps them on their toes. The country club atmosphere that dominated the Romeo Crennel years is gone.

We have no special allegiance to Edwards, however, we are concerned that a trade of Braylon would leave our already weakened receiver core even more shorthanded. If he is traded, we would have to pick up two or three pass catchers that could play immediately. We have already lost Joey J. and Winslow, and Stallworth cannot be depended on given his ongoing legal troubles. It may not be easy for us to pick up that many quality receivers through trades, free agency and/or the college Draft. And we would like to avoid choosing Michael Crabtree in the first round so that we can focus on a defensive player. In the end, trading Edwards may be difficult.

We would like to keep Big Baby. He was our best defensive player on the field last season. He can be again this year depending on what, if anything, is happening behind the scenes between he and Mangini. If things have spoiled to the point where Shaun will not play 100% for us, then so be it - get rid of him while his stock is still high.

It should be interesting, folks. Keep your hats on.

Go Browns!

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