Mort: Browns a 'sleeper' for Peppers

February, 10, 2010
2/10/10
2:00
PM ET
If you believe every rumor floating around Cleveland right now, the Browns will have the most stacked roster in the NFL in 2010. Their quarterbacks alone next season could be Donovan McNabb starting, Matt Hasselbeck as the backup and Kevin Kolb holding the clipboard.

But here is the latest name involved with Cleveland: Julius Peppers.

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Browns are a "sleeper" team to watch in the Peppers sweepstakes. The defensive end for the Carolina Panthers isn't interested in a long-term deal with his current team and could become a free agent next month. Carolina may also franchise Peppers again and perhaps orchestrate a trade with another team.

In the past, Peppers said he wanted to play in a 3-4 defense where he can switch between defensive end and outside linebacker. Cleveland runs that scheme under head coach Eric Mangini.

The Browns also have money to spend in what is expected to be a relatively tame year in free agency. Cleveland needs help at outside linebacker and with rushing the passer. Peppers, who had 10.5 sacks last season, could fill both voids.

These are more than enough reasons to give Mort's "sleeper" label for Cleveland some traction. Stay tuned.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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