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Braylon and Grossi: Murder and Intrigue Edition
Braylon and Grossi: Murder and Intrigue Edition
Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently floated the possibility of the Browns sending Braylon Edwards to the Jets in a trade that would reunite running back Thomas Jones with Browns coach Eric Mangini. This is a rumor that no other media outlet besides Grossi is reporting. What exactly does Grossi know? And if the answer is nothing, what is his motivation in all of this? Dave Kolonich has a theory.
Braylon to New York?
Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently floated the possibility of the Browns sending Braylon to the Jets in a trade that would reunite running back Thomas Jones with Browns coach Eric Mangini.
The disclosure came in response to a reader question regarding the possibility of the Jets cutting Jones, who is skipping offseason workouts apparently due to displeasure with his contract.
"Rex Ryan knows that Mangini would scoop up Jones in a New York second if Jones were released," Grossi writes. "More likely is a future trade involving Jones and, yes, Edwards. You heard it here first."
This attempt at spreading a rumor by Grossi, as well as his version of the Michael Crabtree pre-draft visit to Berea, leads me to pose this question:
Who is being shopped around here? Braylon Edwards or Tony Grossi?
It is still very difficult to know what level of interest the Giants and possibly Philadelphia had in trading for Braylon Edwards over the past couple months. Certainly his name was floated by Eric Mangini and George Kokonis and some teams were interested. However, the price the Browns were asking for Braylon was too high, if reports are true suggesting the Browns wanted #1 and #5 picks, plus a young wideout. If this is to be believed, the story should end here.
However, a good journalist, which Tony Grossi can be at times, certainly has to follow the connection established on draft day between Eric Mangini and Jets G.M. Mike Tannenbaum. After the Browns cut the Jets a sweetheart deal (or the Jets helped the Browns, depending on your opinion) and brought Mark Sanchez to New York, any rational person could suggest that the two teams will link up again. In this case, Braylon to the Jets makes sense, considering the Jets need help at wide receiver.
For the Browns, finally trading Braylon will not solve any immediate roster concerns, but will help to remove a player who desperately wants to dangle his toes in diva essence. Plus, Braylon's already fragile psyche probably was damaged even further by the rumors of his impending trade. Removing Braylon from the new environment in Cleveland is certainly something Eric Mangini has to consider in moving the team forward.
Adding a player such as Thomas Jones would be a positive for Mangini, considering Jones has been highly productive over the past few years. If this offseason has taught Browns fans anything about our new coach, it is that he covets the respect given to him by his ex-players. Certainly Jones would be the offensive equivalent of Eric Barton.
Before getting too depressed while analyzing that last comparison, consider that Jones is the same age as Jamal Lewis. However, Jones has a lot less mileage on his legs than Jamal Lewis. Jones floundered around the league for a few seasons, before catching on with the Bears and then later with the Jets. Obviously, veteran running backs are a gamble, but the idealist in me can picture Jones as still having 2-3 productive years left in him. If anything, he is fresher than Jamal Lewis.
As for the actual trade, obviously the Browns need to get a lot more out of the Jets than just Thomas Jones. After watching Mangini grab three of his ex-players on draft day, I have to think that there are more Jets that he would love to bring to Cleveland. Ideally, the Browns could add some 2010 draft picks in a potential Braylon trade. However, after the Jets' bulky investment in Mark Sanchez, picks may be at a premium.
Assuming a deal does get done, there is certainly one clear winner that will emerge. For Braylon, he would get to go to the media capital of the world, play with a newly-minted star QB and finally acheive his Zoolander-esque catwalk dreams. If he performs in a contract year, the Jets will likely meet his Larry Fitzgerald-scale salary demands.
Now, let's look at the other major player in this deal.
What is Tony Grossi's motivation in all of this? What exactly does Grossi know? He hinted at a possible deal in his
mailbag and not in an actual column. This makes me very curious, considering that if Grossi had an actual scoop, it would make more sense for him to report on it in more detail. It seems as if Grossi is either sending out a feeler, or doesn't have much substance behind his comments.
Another perspective to take from this story is Tony Grossi's future in Cleveland. Considering the Plain Dealer is currently suffering through a horrendous regional economy, is Grossi auditioning for a new job? I tend to think that Grossi's pre-draft report regarding Michael Crabtree's attitude, which offered a conflicting viewpoint from the other Plain Dealer story regarding the visit, seems to suggest that Grossi is trying to get his name out on a more national level.
Consider the timing of the Braylon rumor. The hype machine leading up to the draft absolutely crashes and dies about 3-4 days after the actual event. After all the draft grades and analysis has been given, what else is there to talk about? Rookie mini-camps are pretty much non-stories, as they often resemble a punt, pass and kick contest...unless a roof collapses on a team. In saying this, what better time to start a new round of rumors?
Just like Braylon has probably saw the light and realized that his future is not in Cleveland, which is a sentiment probably shared by Eric Mangini, I think Grossi is planning for his post-Plain Dealer future. Getting your name cited on Sportscenter and in some major New York newspapers has to help his overall exposure.
And if what I'm suggesting has any merit, can you blame the guy? It's obvious Grossi has lost any genuine passion for the Browns, considering how badly the team has played in recent years. Add to this the arrival of Mangini, who is not exactly an overflowing source of information and the writing seems to be on the wall. Or at least subtly inserted into a reader mailbag.
Either way, we're talking about it...and this is good for all parties involved. Braylon can get a new contract, both as a football player and model, Grossi may get a new job, Mangini gets rid of a potential cancer and adds another one of "his guys" and for us fans...we get something to hold us over until September.
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