Jerome Harrison to finally receive more carries…in Philadelphia.

Cleveland Browns running back Jerome Harrison dives for yardage after being tripped up by the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Cleveland, Ohio September 19, 2010.     REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Despite his success at the end of last season, the Cleveland Browns had zero intention of making Jerome Harrison their long-term fixture at running back. That’s why they decided not to give him a new contract in the offseason, that’s why they drafted Montario Hardesty in the second round in April and that’s why they stuck him behind battering ram Peyton Hillis when Hardesty went down with a knee injury in the team’s first preseason game this year.

With that in mind, the Browns didn’t hesitate to send Harrison to Philadelphia on Wednesday in exchange for running back Mike Bell. What this basically amounts to for the Browns is that they trade one running back that they had zero desire to give carries to, for another running back that they’ll probably have zero desire to give carries to. The difference is that some in the media kept asking Eric Mangini why Harrison wasn’t getting any carries and now nobody will care if Bell doesn’t receive any because he’s Mike Bell (who wasn’t exactly tearing it up behind Shady McCoy in Philly).

I hesitate to say that this was a “great” move by the Eagles because Harrison will be stuck behind McCoy, but at least he has a higher ceiling than Bell. After all, he rushed for 4.4 yards per carry in 14 games last year and racked up 561 rushing yards in the final three games, including a 286-yard performance at Kansas City in Week 15. Bell rushed for 143 yards in Week 1 against the Lions last year while a member of the Saints and then never broke 100 yards again the rest of the season.

There’s a possibility that this trade amounts to nothing for either team in the end, but as it stands right now the Eagles are getting a potential steal.

Owners waiting for Jerome Harrison to produce should probably be happy with this trade, though Peyton Hillis’s quad injury could have opened the door for Harrison over the next few weeks. McCoy isn’t exactly the most durable RB, so there’s a decent chance that Harrison is seeing starter’s snaps at some point this season. The Eagles are also more likely to use him as a backup, whereas he was getting little to no run behind Hillis in Cleveland. I wouldn’t run out and pickup Harrison unless we’re talking about a deep league, but if you have a open roster spot, he wouldn’t be a bad pickup. As for Bell, he’s a decent handcuff for Hillis owners.

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Montario Hardesty out for the season with a torn ACL

BEREA, OH - MAY 01: Montario Hardesty #31 of the Cleveland Browns takes a hand off from Colt McCoy #12 during rookie mini camp at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative Complex on May 1, 2010 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Adam Schefter is reporting that Hardesty is done for the season:

Further tests revealed what initial tests showed: Browns rookie RB Montario Hardesty has a torn ACL. Out for year.

Bad news for Hardesty is great news for Jerome Harrison owners, who will likely have a solid RB2 for the price of a 7th-9th round pick. Peyton Hillis has played well and was productive in Denver, so he will probably get some touches to keep Harrison fresh. He could also vulture some goal line work.

Still, Harrison is looking like a great value in the middle rounds and is another reason why it’s a solid strategy to grab a couple of premier WRs in the first three rounds and worry about shoring up the RB position later.

Fantasy Football News & Notes (6/16)

Jerome Harrison is currently working behind Montario Hardesty during OTAs. Obviously, this is a big blow to those fantasy owners hoping to find a solid RB2 in the third or fourth round in the form of Harrison. This looks like it’s shaping up to be a timeshare. Keep an eye on the competition as training camp wears on. Harrison was outstanding late last season and could be a steal if he wins back the job.

Felix Jones is looking better in the passing game. Jones is unlikely to get enough carries in the running game to become a true fantasy RB1, especially with Marion Barber vulturing goal line carries. But if he can become a regular fixture in the passing game, he could do some serious damage in PPR leagues.

Dustin Keller primed for a big year? The Jets have added some wrinkles in order to utilize Keller’s talents and Rex Ryan has said that Keller is likely to have more TDs than last season (2). He is a solid TE option for those owners who elect to wait on the position and play Tight End By Committee (TEBC).

Domenik Hixon is out for the season with a knee injury. This is a big blow to the Giants’ receiving corps, which will have to lean on Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks even more this season. Move both players up a couple of spots on your cheatsheet.

Will Eddie Royal bounce back this year?
He seems like a prime candidate since Brandon Marshall left town leaving Royal as the best and most proven receiver on the roster. Last year was a disaster, but Royal showed what he can do in his rookie season.

Vincent Jackson prepared to sit out until Week 11. This is bad news for his owners and for Phillip Rivers, but it could be good news for Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd, who reportedly looks great in workouts.

Cowboys looking to get the ball to Witten in the red zone.
He went for 94-1030 last year, but only caught two TD after averaging 5.5 the previous two seasons. If the Cowboys are serious about calling his number more in the red zone, it may mean Witten once again cracks the Top 5 in standard leagues.

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Despite late season collapse, Del Rio’s job appears to be safe

After defeating the Texans 23-18 in Week 13, the young Jaguars had high hopes of making the postseason. But they proceeded to lose their next three games before dropping their season finale today in Cleveland.

Despite Jacksonville’s 23-17 loss to the Browns in which the Jags allowed 300 total yards and 214 rushing yards, Jack Del Rio’s job appears to be safe for now. Michael C. Wright of the Florida Times-Union wrote via his Twitter page that Del Rio would be with the Jaguars next season, although he didn’t go into any detail as to why.

T-Bone, one of our regular readers, brought up a good point last week about NFL teams possibly playing things cautiously when it comes to coaching hires because of a potential lockout in 2011. They don’t want to pay a new head coach boatloads of money with a threat of a lockout coming in two years. Granted, that’s just an observation, but it’s one that might have teeth.

Del Rio had a young team that wasn’t supposed to compete this year and given their overall inexperience, it’s not a complete shock that they faded down the stretch. For the most part, I think he did a decent job keeping them in contention until the final month of the season. Had they beat Indianapolis a few weeks ago on Thursday night when they were matching the Colts score-for-score, the Jags might be getting ready for the postseason right now.

Some may look at the Jags’ effort today in Cleveland and make a case that Del Rio should go. But there’s not much shame losing to a Browns team that finished the season on a tear and that found a gem in running back Jerome Harrison. Again, I think the Jags’ collapse had more to do with their youth than Del Rio’s lack of coaching. But Jacksonville fans may have a different opinion.

Jerome Harrison is better than Jim Brown

Really? No, not really. In fact, Cleveland fans might have me shot for even remotely joking about something like that. But Harrison did prove on Sunday that he’s even more dangerous than the Dos Equis Guy.

Harrison rushed for a franchise record 286 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries, while adding two receptions for 12 yards in Cleveland’s 41-34 win. He scored the game-winning touchdown with under a minute to play to give Cleveland back to back winning weeks for the first time this season. Harrison now holds Cleveland’s all-time record for rushing yards in a game, surpassing the great Jim Brown.

Harrison was so good that he managed to overshadow Josh Cribbs, which was hard to do on a day like this. Cribbs tied an NFL record with two kick returns for touchdowns, both of which came from over 100 yards out. He is now the all-time record holder for kickoff return touchdowns, with eight in his career.

Regardless of whether or not Mike Holmgren takes over in Cleveland, the Browns have to do everything in their power to make Cribbs happy in the offseason. He threatened to hold out this past summer if the Browns didn’t re-do his contract, which they didn’t. He never held out and has been the Browns best player this season, so the team’s first mission in the offseason should resolve his contract dispute.

Speaking of the Browns’ offseason, what should they do with Eric Mangini? He was an easy fire a couple of months ago when the Browns were hapless, hopeless and completely lost, but they’ve played well of late. Should he keep his job or should the Browns start over if/when Holmgren comes to town? Usually head coaches are fired when the team is heading backwards, but Cleveland is actually moving forward.

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