CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Browns season officially kicked off Monday morning at 8:15 when head coach Hue Jackson gave the eulogy for 2017.
The funeral procession is set for Saturday.
The body isn’t even cold from that disaster of epic proportions, but it’s already time to look ahead.
Unlike 31 other NFL cities, the football fun in Cleveland actually happens between January and August. So, with the calendar turning to 2018, let the good times roll.
By some inexplicable miracle of a higher being, Jackson managed to talk his way out of being responsible for 0-16 and 1-31 and keep his job. Owner Jimmy Haslam was even nice enough to go out and buy him a new general manager just in time for Christmas too. Now Jackson is “reflecting” on what changes to make on his coaching staff and it is expected that there will be a few once he’s done reflecting upon them over the next week or so.
The offensive coordinator search is underway with the Browns receiving permission from the Houston Texans to interview their quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan. Texans coach Bill O’Brien let that cat out of the bag Tuesday morning. Jackson is expected to interview several candidates in the coming days for the position. It’ll be interesting to see if Jackson’s ego will allow him to give up play-calling duties but he did say Monday that everything is being considered.
Draft season is also underway and boy are the next 4 months going to be chok full of nail-biting, hot-taking agonizing entertainment with Cleveland holding picks 1, 4, 33 and 35 in the 2018 Draft. So, which quarterback’s career will be put in peril this year? Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen or some other poor soul? I mean, Jackson worked wonders for DeShone Kizer this year. No. 29, come on down!
Then there is free agency.
Expect new general manager John Dorsey to spend a lot of money to infuse some talent and leadership into the locker room. Building through free agency is typically the worst way to go, and the teams that do rarely succeed, but after 2 years of purging the roster of veterans, 0-16 has changed everything. Ideally Dorsey will target those younger players hitting the market looking for their second contract. Unfortunately, the good teams tend to keep their really good young players.
After carrying over $50.1 million in salary cap space from 2016 into 2017, the Browns will roll over approximately $58.38 million in space from 2017 into 2018 according to numbers computed by the NFLPA, which depending on the 2018 cap figure could leave the team with $110 million or so in room to play with. SO at least cap space isn’t something to worry about – for now.
Once training camp arrives fans, desperate for any hope of coming success or a beacon of light to cling to, will once again think the top draft picks are destined to be to be future Hall of Famers and this is the year the team will finally be watchable and competitive again.
From annual staff changes through free agency and the NFL draft on into training camp, optimism reigns before the reality of failure in the regular season sets in again for fans.
So here we go in 2018 for the 20th season of the impostor Browns where the vicious cycle of being a Browns fan has officially been reset.
It’s going to be a wild ride.
The offseason always is.