Savage Now Looking To Address Punter, Defense, Possibly Trade Faine
Yesterday was a great day to be a Cleveland Browns fan. Phil Savage brought home LeCharles Bentley and Joe Jurevicius, and also snagged the top available left tackle off the market with the signing of Kevin Shaffer. The moves should go a long way towards improving the Browns woeful red zone offense. Running behind LeCharles Bentley in short yardage, and having options like Jurevicius (10 TDs last year), Braylon Edwards, and Kellen Winslow Jr to throw to inside the 20 make this Browns fans mouth water.
Chances appear pretty good that the Browns will sign punter Dave Zastudil next. Zastudil is from Bay Village, and according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, was in Berea yesterday to dine with team officials last night to allegedly finalize a deal. He attended Ohio University, and has been the Ravens punter for the last four seasons. Zastudil had a career season last year, averaging 43.5 yards a punt, and had just 7 touchbacks in 84 total kicks. He would represent a clear upgrade over current punter Kyle Richardson, whose 40.8 yard average was one of the worst in all of football last season.
The Plain Dealer also is reporting that the Browns may be poised to strike quickly on the defensive side of the ball as well. Savage is in the process of trying to sign Detroit defensive end Kalimba Edwards, Oakland nose tackle Ted Washington, Baltimore linebacker Bart Scott, and Steelers safety Chris Hope. And at least at this moment, nothing appears imminent with LaVar Arrington or Willie McGinest, two players the Browns have been rumored to have an interest in.
Lastly, a column in the Philadelphia Enquirer this morning states that the Browns have been trying to deal center Jeff Faine.
The Eagles, according to a league source, feared that Bentley might be leaning toward signing with the Browns earlier in the week when word leaked that Cleveland was trying to trade center Jeff Faine, a three-year starter and former first-round draft pick who is just 24 years old. By sunrise, the Eagles knew Bentley was headed to Cleveland and they would have to look elsewhere to improve their offensive line.
Several erroneous reports had been circulating on the internet that Bentley would sign with Philly as soon as free agency opened, and as it turns out, LeCharles had no interest in playing anywhere but Cleveland. The Enquirer column had a statement from his agent that verified this:
"He only had one team on his mind - the Cleveland Browns," said Jonathan Feinsod, one of the agents representing Bentley. "He's from Cleveland, he went to Ohio State, and that's where he wanted to play. I heard the rumors about the Eagles, but I don't know where they came from."
Stay tuned to Swerbs Blurbs as we continue to track this incredibly exciting start to the Browns off-season. And to think Randy Lerner was just about ready to fire Phil Savage. Good God ...