I don’t know what’s sweeter: all of the moves the Cleveland Browns have made so far in free agency combined, or their move yesterday. Of course, you would rather have a re-signed Jamal Lewis and Derek Anderson, in addition to the signings of Shaun Rogers, Corey Williams and Donte’ Stallworth, but yesterdays move, above all of the others made this off-season, really made me feel good about where the Browns are heading.
Sure, signing offensive lineman Rex Hadnot on the surface isn’t much, he will compete for a starting gig on our offensive line, and could prove to be a valuable, versatile player. But, if not, all of his value was sealed yesterday, as Browns fans everywhere had an opportunity to stick the Hadnot signing right in the eye of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were after him, we got him. Not only that, but they needed him, and we didn’t. Some might be quick to call this a sign of the times in the AFC North, and I am one of those people. VERY rarely to the Steelers come up for air in the free agent market, and when they do, they have a pretty good track record of reeling in who they want.
This signing thrills me as a Browns fan. It makes me feel like our front office is going after Pittsburgh. This is a mean move, going after someone that Pittsburgh clearly wanted and needed. The Pittsburgh Post-Tribune has more on the Steelers need for Hadnot:
The veteran nose tackle [Casey Hampton] recently talked to his friend, Rex Hadnot — and talked up Pittsburgh and the Steelers’ organization to the former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman.
Hadnot could fill a need at either guard or center — the 6-foot-2, 325-pounder has extensive experience at each position — though the Steelers are hardly the only suitors for the fourth-year veteran.
Here’s the other AMAZING thing about this Hadnot deal: the Steelers were pursuing him despite the fact that they have some serious money issues. They are only a few million under the projected salary cap this season, biggest reason being the monster deals they gave to Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger, both record Steeler deals at the time of their signing.
Follow me here. Doesn’t it seem like the fiscal roles are reversed? The Steelers throwing a large amount of money at specific players (while ignoring glaring holes at other positions) , with the Browns making shrewd deals to bring in “puzzle pieces?” I’ll stipulate that both Big Ben and Troy are good players, only if Pittsburgh will concede that they still have some serious issues on the offensive line, and, thanks in part to James Harrison, potentially at linebacker. Not to mention the fact that their answer to lessening the burden on Willie Parker and his broken leg is Mewelde Moore.
If you’re a Steeler fan and you’re reading this, I already know your argument: “you can be as good as you want on paper, we’ll still beat you on the field like we always do.” Sure, rest on your laurels. If you guys can find an offensive line, we’ll see you later this year.