Browns likely to hang onto Edwards

Remember the gazillion rumors that centered on the Browns trading receiver Braylon Edwards earlier this offseason? Well apparently the team is content on keeping Edwards on its roster this season, despite the fact that he’s entering the final year of his contract and thus could walk at the end of the year.

Despite feverishly trying to move the inconsistent former No. 3 overall pick around draft time, Cleveland received zero offers to their liking. According to a report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns wanted a first round pick but teams were only offering middle-round picks and lackluster veterans.

The Giants seemed to be team that made the biggest push for Edwards, but a rumored deal involving DE/LB Mathias Kiwanuka fell through and New York eventually backed off. (The then G-Men selected North Carolina wideout Hakeem Nicks with the 29th overall pick in round one.)

In the end, whom could blame teams for not wanting to part with a first round pick for Edwards? He makes letting the ball get into his pads instead of catching it with his hands his personal mission and outside of his fluke season in ‘07, he has done nothing to merit a team giving up a first round pick for his services.

Maybe him staying in Cleveland will work out best for all parties involved. Players in a contract year always turn it up a notch and it’s not like the Browns couldn’t use another playmaker after trading tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. to the Bucs. Maybe Edwards will turn in a great season, realize that he’s a huge fan of the Great Lakes Science Center and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and decide to re-up with the Browns.

Either way, the Browns aren’t in a bad spot. If he’s still infected with the dropsies, then they can allow him to walk via free agency at the end of the year and move forward with the development of second round picks Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massqauoi. If Edwards does produce, they could make an effort to re-sign him after the season or even (gasp!) place the franchise tag on him if they deem him worthy enough.

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Are the Browns still considering trading Braylon Edwards?

Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wonders aloud if the Browns are still intent on trading Braylon Edwards after recently signing free agent Mike Furrey, who now joins a crowded receiver corps.

• Until proven otherwise, we’ve got to assume a trade of Braylon Edwards is still being explored. Surely he’s not scoring points with Mangini by missing the “voluntary” offseason conditioning workouts. Perhaps the Browns are bracing for the possibility of Edwards also skipping the two “voluntary” minicamps scheduled later this month. Securing a No. 1 pick in 2010 for Edwards now would give the Browns some comfort moving forward.

• If Edwards does not return, the Browns have a lack of speed at the wideout position. Robiskie and Massaquoi — again, they’re rookies — run decent for their size, but they won’t be getting behind many NFL corners. Furrey, 32, is a possession receiver. David Patten will be 35 when the season starts. As for the other receivers returning from last year’s roster — Paul Hubbard, Syndric Steptoe, Lance Leggett — I haven’t heard Mangini or Kokinis mention any of their names since they’ve been on the job.

• Perhaps the Browns are merely adding competition to the receiver position. But it’s odd that they aren’t doing the same at running back.

I didn’t excerpt this portion, but in his article Grossi makes a good point that it’s unrealistic to assume that both Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi (two receivers the Browns drafted in the second round of last month’s draft) will develop into starters as rookies. However, while Massaquoi was largely considering a raw prospect by some scouts, Robiskie was the most polished receivers to enter the draft so it wouldn’t be far-fetched if he turned some heads this summer and became a starter. (His father is long-time NFL assistant and current Falcons’ receiver coach Terry Robiskie, so you know Brian has had excellent training throughout his young career.)

In regards to trading Edwards, the Browns are setting themselves up for either outcome. The additions they have made to their receiving corps this offseason haven’t been spectacular, but they could at least get them through a season if they do wind up trading Edwards.

Edwards becomes a free agent after the 2009 season and it appears that he doesn’t want to re-sign with Cleveland, so the Browns would obviously love to get some kind of compensation for him if he does plan on bolting. But if they wind up hanging onto him, he is still their most talented receiver and would be their top playmaker in the passing game next season. I don’t know if I would say it’s a win-win for the Browns, but at least they seem to have a plan.

Edwards-to-Giants trade dead now?

According to the New York Daily News, a deal between the Giants and Browns involving wide receiver Braylon Edwards is all but dead at this point.

According to a source familiar with the situation, the Giants no longer see any hope of acquiring the Cleveland receiver and are moving forward with their plans to take a receiver early in the NFL draft. The sticking point still appears to be GM Jerry Reese’s refusal to part with the Giants’ first-round pick and the Browns’ refusal to take anything less.

It’s pretty much been that way since Reese and Browns GM George Kokinis first talked about Edwards in February, but until very recently there was at least some optimism inside the Giants’ organization that one of the two sides would blink. Reese has no plans to blink, the source said, and the Giants are now convinced that Kokinis won’t either.

So, barring a late drop in the Browns’ asking price – or a dramatic change of heart by Reese — the Giants will head into Day 1 of the draft focused on getting a receiver to help out a corps thinned by the losses of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. Several sources have said they almost certainly will take a receiver in Round 1, though there’s at least a small chance they’ll draft a linebacker, depending on how the first 28 picks break.

If a deal with the Giants is in fact dead, it’ll be interesting to see if the Browns can move Edwards at all this weekend or sometime before the season starts. His contract is up at the end of the year and it’s doubtful that he’ll want to re-sign with Cleveland. Of course, that might not be such a bad thing either, considering he’s largely underachieved up to this point in his career. Still, Cleveland would surely love to get something for him before he bolts at the end of the year.

Giants to trade for Braylon Edwards

According to Yahoo Sports!, the Giants are expected to make a deal with the Browns to acquire wide receiver Braylon Edwards sometime before the NFL draft.

The Browns reportedly asked for a second- and fifth-round pick and receiver Steve Smith, but the Giants declined. New York countered by offering the two draft picks and receiver Domenik Hixon for Edwards.

Neither the Browns or Giants could be reached for this story, but both sources said the gap will be bridged before the draft.

“The Giants are motivated, they’re trying to win right now,” the aforementioned quoted source said. “Edwards is a bigger guy that [quarterback] Eli [Manning] wants to throw to, like he had with Plaxico. The Giants know they can’t leave Eli with no great receivers. They saw what happened last year.”

New York’s offense sputtered over the final five games of the season after Burress was suspended by the team after shooting himself at a New York nightclub.

If a trade similar to the one mentioned in the report goes down, it would be a good deal for both teams. Edwards’ contract is up at the end of the year and there’s no guarantee that the Browns would be able to re-sign him. Plus, the new regime in Cleveland clearly wants to rebuild the roster and this would allow them to recoup draft picks that were traded away last offseason by former GM Phil Savage.

The Giants would obviously get their replacement for Burress and might have more success re-signing Edwards to a long-term deal. Although he’s underachieved outside of his breakout 2007 campaign, Edwards is still young and could thrive in a new situation. It’ll be interesting to see if this deal gets done and what the final compensation would be.

Giants release Plaxico Burress

The Giants have officially decided to release wide receiver Plaxico Burress.

The New York Giants released Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress on Friday, a little more than four months after the talented but troubled wide receiver accidentally shot himself in the thigh in a New York City nightclub.

Burress’ four-year tenure with the Giants was highlighted by a game-winning touchdown catch in the Super Bowl 14 months ago but it was also dogged by fines and suspensions.

Burress’ status has been uncertain since he shot himself on Nov. 29. He faces a felony weapons charge that could put him in prison for at least 3 1/2 years if convicted.

Some fans will be upset by this news because of what Burress did to help the Giants win the Super Bowl two years ago, but what was the team supposed to do? Sit idle why he goes through a possibly messy trial and then have to wait to see if he’ll be available to play? Why not douse the fire now before it gets out of control?

The only potential issue for the Giants (besides the fact that they now have one of the weakest receiver units in the league) is now they don’t have much leverage in trade talks. They apparently have already talked to the Browns about Braylon Edwards and if Cleveland was willing to make a deal on draft day, they’ll certainly ask for decent compensation knowing the Giants don’t have many options. The draft is pretty deep in receiver talent, but prospects like Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin and Darrius Heyward-Bey could be gone by the time New York selects in the first round (No. 29).

It’ll be interesting to see if any of the Edwards-to-Giants trade banter starts up again after Plax’s release.

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