Walker's weekend mailbag: Browns trade talk

March, 21, 2009
3/21/09
12:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

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We have quite a collection of questions and comments this weekend. So let's get into it.

Marc from Tampa writes: James, what do you think the chances are that the Browns try to do a trade either directly with Tampa Bay or a 3way trade with Tampa and Denver? Also there have been talks about the Browns trying to get Cutler, since Cleveland has 2 QB's why would they even talk about a deal including them receiving Cutler?

James Walker: I'm not big believer in three-way trades, Marc. This isn't the NBA. It just doesn't happen often in football. The Broncos, Buccaneers and New England Patriots tried it earlier this month with quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Matt Cassel and it was too difficult to pull off. So the Patriots worked out a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs instead. I'll believe a three-way trade when I see it.


Justin from Zanesville writes: i think william gay will be a great corner for the steelers, i was wondering what you think of him.

James Walker: Gay played well in spurts in the second half of last season. It remains to be seen if he can handle the pressure of being a full-time starter, but the Steelers are banking on it. Plus, here is a little secret about Steelers' corners: They only have to cover for 3 or 4 seconds. With Pittsburgh pass rush, Gay's transition will be a lot easier than a young corner for another team.


Brian from Cincy writes: James, love your work. Will you keep us updated on the Levi Jones situation? Do you think he'll be traded? For how much?

James Walker: Although the Cincinnati Bengals are trying to trade him, I don't believe they can, Brian. The offensive tackle market is not very lucrative this year. There are experienced starters (Orlando Pace, Marvel Smith, Kevin Shaffer) still available in free agency who don't require draft picks to obtain. That makes it hard for the Bengals to get anything for Jones. Cincinnati will probably have to release Jones if the team truly wants to part ways. But the Bengals need to find a replacement first.


Mike from Ewa Beach, HI writes: Mr. Walker, when are you going to be back on tv in addition to the net? I need my bloggers blitz fix! Without a CBA, there's a rule that states that a player's salary cannot increase by more than 30% from year to year. Is that one of the holdups with James Harrison? How will this effect draft picks getting signed?

James Walker: Mike, the weekly Blogger Blitz segment was something that was done during the regular season only, because there is always news to discuss and games to be played at that time. Myself and the rest of the ESPN.com blogging crew will be on television a lot more in the coming weeks in preparation for the NFL draft. So look for it.


Keith from Austin, TX writes: James, you think I could be a WR with the Ravens? I had great hands in high school and I've bulked up since then, about 212 lbs <10% body fat. I have about 5.5 speed, but boy can I run routes, I like to compare myself to Hines Ward and Anquan Boldin. Plus, they could sign me cheap!

James Walker: Keith, there are 350-pound linemen who run faster than 5.5 in the 40-yard dash. I don't care how good your routes are, you couldn't get open in the NFL.


Robert from Dallas writes: James, I don't read much about the prospective future of longtime Steelers backup Charlie Batch. Do you think they'll let him go, or is it possible they want him to take on a new role? It seems to me that for years he's been a virtual second quarterbacks coach.

James Walker: Batch is an unrestricted free agent, Robert. With his age (34) and collarbone injury last season, he hasn't garnered much interest and remains an option to return to Pittsburgh. An ideal scenario for the Steelers would be to retain backup quarterback Byron Leftwich. The market has been slow for him as well, but he could find a spot to compete for a starting job.


Luke from Ohio writes: Hey James! My questions simple if the Bengals don't draft a tackle in the first round and a center in the second or third round is our offense going to struggle again?

James Walker: The offensive line needs to be addressed, Luke. It is highly recommended that the Bengals do so in the first day of the draft, but there is no guarantee they cannot find good players otherwise.


Here are the most interesting comments this week in the AFC North:

Adam from Michigan writes: Why Cutler to the Browns when they have Quinn? Anderson had a one and done year and Quinn has never had a chance. Look at his first game he started in 08' 239 yards, 23 completions and 2 TD's, no picks, and he did all this with 2 days of practice with the starting squad. This is not a joke, Quinn needs to be our starter, hands down.

Mojo from Castle Rock, CO writes: James, nice breakdown of the Browns/Cutler situation. The Browns also hold one piece of the puzzle that might interest the Broncos that you failed to mention, that being Shaun Rogers. Broncos aren't high enough to get Raji, and might miss Brace also. Quinn+Rogers for Cuter+low pick might be just what the Doctor ordered.

Dirk from Everett, Wa writes: JW... just to throw this out there. IF Denver were to trade Cutler, to say Minnesota for RB Chester Taylor + 2nd/3rd round pick, what are the chances of the Browns dealing Quinn to Denver for a high 2nd round pick? I say Quinn because he seems more in the Brady/Ca
ssel mold that McDaniels would prefer than Anderson. Minnesota gets the qb they desperately need, Denver gets a qb (unproven but talented) and a solid rb they really need, Cleveland gets another pick they need to fill the holes on a talent deprived team.

Stephanie writes: Absolutely right on about how the Steelers management does things during the Free Agent Frenzy! They focus on their own free agents or restricted free agents - the ones who fit into the Steelers. They don't flash a lot of cash, although its hard not to look wistfully at all the talent going by. In the end they do it the right way.

John from Fort Myers, FL writes: Dan Rooney was named US Ambassador to Ireland by President Obama. This is a tremendous honor for Mr. Rooney and Steeler nation couldn't be happier for him. With this recent honor, combined with the continual success of the Steelers franchise and the influence and respect he holds around the league, I don't think there is any debating that Dan Rooney is the best owner in professional sports.

Mike from Ford City writes: I am probably one of the few people that does not want to see James Harrison re-signed. With the recent signings of defensive players, it seems to me like his price tag went up even more. He is also over 30. I say let him play out the contract and use the money saved from not re-signing him on other positions. They could always give him the franchise tag if they want to keep him around longer.

Jim from St. louis, Mo. writes: Hey James, I absolutely love the blog. I'm a big Steeler fan, but I realize that New England is definitely the team of the decade. I did a top ten for the decade and I wanted to get your opinion on the rankings. Right now I believe the first two are pretty set regardless of what happens next year. The reason why I had the Eagles ahead of Ravens was because they have made the playoffs for more years. Even though the Eagles have not won a Superbowl, the past decade they have been very successful. 1. New England Patriots 2. Pittsburgh Steelers 3. Indianapolis Colts 4. New York Giants 5. Philadelphia Eagles 6. Baltimore Ravens 7. Green Bay Packers 8. St. Louis Rams 9. Chicago Bears 10. Seattle Seahawks

Jon from Westfield, MA writes: Just wanted to say I LOVED how you threw BJ Penn's name into and email because someone was from Hilo. It's not often I see MMA recognized in other forums.

Fionn from Wilmington writes: So am I the only surprised one in the L.J. Smith signing? I guess Ozzie wasn't lying when he said they weren't done. I think this definitely could be one of the most underrated pick-ups of the off season(because of price and draft considerations).

Lucas from Hyattsville (Staaaand uuuup!) writes: Whats up James, just wanted to give my take on Ravens linebackers. Why dont people realize that Ray Lewis makes every linebacker around him great. For example, remember Adalius Thomas, what has he done since he left? Oh yea, what about that guy Ed Hartwell, who signed that big deal with Atlanta (i believe)? How about Jamie Sharper? All these guys were Pro Bowl caliber players on the Ravens defense, just to leave and seem to vanish off the face of the football world. I think Bart Scott is the next name on that list. With no Ray Lewis for teams to plan around,Scott has not demonstrated he has the tools to be a Ray Lewis or Brian Urlacher caliber. Secondly, why is everyone second guessing Rex leaving. He was great Defensive Coordinator but people need to realize before him it was Marvin Lewis, and before him Mike Nolan both NFL coaches. Both times they left people said our defense would not be the same and they only got better. People better wake up and realize Ozzie and the front office are great talent hunters and will not let our focal point be mediocre. Out.

Doug from Marietta, OH writes: Why is everyone having the Bengals take a tackle with their first round pick? We have 3 quality starting tackles on the team as it is. That is a pick that could be used on Malaluga, sorry for butchering the spelling of the name, but we still need that presence in the middle on the defense. Don't get me wrong I love Dhani Jones and is one of the best pickups the team has made, but moving him to strongside linebacker could make for one of the better linebacking cores in the league. BOTTOM LINE NO OFFENSIVE TACKLE FOR THE BENGALS, remember they got Anthony Collins in the 4th rd last year.

Nick from Knoxville writes: James, love the blog. I can't wait to see the Bengals prove everyone wrong next year and win the division. Our defense is much improved with alot of young talent. Look out for Pat Sims and Keith Rivers next year. I expect Odom, Leon Hall and J. Joseph to come up with some big plays too, if they can stay healthy. With Carson back and an up-graded O-Line from the draft, our offense is going to make like its 2005 (or maybe even 1988). The Bengals have most of the parts in place. They're going to surprise some people.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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