INDIANAPOLIS (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey held court on Thursday at the NFL Combine.
Here’s a look at what we learned.
– Dorsey declined to talk about the impending trade of Alex Smith from Kansas City to Washington, citing league rules that prohibit public comments about players on other teams. The Browns are clearly disappointed they couldn’t get in on the bidding, but the reality is that the four-year extension worth $94 million with $71 million guaranteed could have ended their interest but we’ll never know now.
– The Browns will move quickly in free agency to add a veteran quarterback. Dorsey and his staff have begun putting together their options and plan of attack.
“If we decide to go that route, I think we will be aggressive,” Dorsey said.
– The Browns have a decision to make on defensive tackle Danny Shelton. Shelton, selected 12th overall in 2015, is entering his fourth season and they have until May 3 to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.
“Absolutely. We were just talking to his agent this morning earlier so we’ll see what happens,” Dorsey said.
The non-committal response by Dorsey could mean Shelton’s future in Cleveland isn’t nearly as bright as it was when he was picked 2 GMs ago.
– Dorsey will field calls regarding picks 1 and 4 in the upcoming draft but that also doesn’t mean we’re about to get another round of trade down.
“My door is wide open if somebody wants to come up and talk to me about a trade, I’m willing to trade,” Dorsey said. “But also I’m going to do what’s best for this organization. And I will do that.”
While fans have become tired of the Browns costing themselves elite talent in order to stockpile picks, it’s highly likely Dorsey’s comments – at least about the top pick – were more posturing that anything. No. 4 however is absolutely in play.
– Size matters to Dorsey when it comes to quarterbacks – especially their hands.
“I’m a believer of hand size, I think that’s important,” Dorsey said. “I think when you’re in Cleveland, ohio, when you play in November and December, you have elements, you have winter, you have certain conditions that your hands have to be bigger. I think the hand sizes that were read off today, I think all of them are acceptable.”
The quarterbacks were measured Thursday morning. Here’s how they measured up:
Josh Rosen: 6’4, 226 pounds, hand 9 7/8
Josh Allen: 6’4 7/8, 237 pounds, hand 10 1/8
Baker Mayfield: 6’0 5/8, 215 pounds, hand 9 1/4
Sam Darnold: 6’3 3/8, 221 pounds, hand 9 3/8
Lamar Jackson: 6’2, 216 pounds, hand 9 1/2
– Dorsey’s plans to use his respect for the once proud tradition of the Browns to sell Cleveland to free agents and he doesn’t think the disastrous post-1999 expansion era will be a problem getting players to sign.
“Just for example, it wasn’t a hard sell for Elliott [Wolf], it wasn’t a hard sell for Alonzo [Highsmith],” Dorsey said. “These are just personnel guys, they aren’t players but they see the other thing. I would also say No. Not if you explain and talk about the tradition. Let’s talk about the tradition. Let’s talk about the passionate fan base that’s here in Cleveland. Why not sell those things? That’s how I look at it. This is the Cleveland Browns. To me, this is one of the reasons why I came here because of the proud old tradition of the Cleveland Browns and the incredible fan base.”
– Dorsey confirmed that he met with free agent cornerback Vontae Davis, who eventually signed with Buffalo, and free agent running back Chris Ivory. Adding experience and leadership to the team this offseason is important.
“My intent is to acquire as many good football players as I possibly can,” Dorsey said. “And you know what? I did visit with both of those people and that’s what I have to do in my position is to make sure that I can see what these people are all about and that’s what you do on these visits.”
– Joe Thomas can tell the Browns what he wants to do whenever he is ready. Dorsey has no plans to rush Thomas into making a decision to retire or return.
“Joe and I have had numerous conversations,” Dorsey said. “I have greatly admired Joe from his playing days at Wisconsin all the way up to the Cleveland Browns. Anybody in his right mind knows how talented he is. I think with that said, he deserves a little bit of respect, and you know what? When it comes time for the proper decision, he’ll make it.”
Regardless of what Thomas decides, left tackle will need to be addressed because the Browns don’t feel they have Thomas’ successor in house.
“You can’t have enough young offensive linemen and I think as you go and attempt to build a football team, you try to get offensive linemen throughout the draft somewhere,” Dorsey said. “Joe is no spring chicken. So I think it’s important to plan for that as well.”