What moves do John Dorsey and the Cleveland Browns make after landing arguably the best wide receiver in NFL in his prime? Most of the NFL teams are, understandably, in a holding pattern –not sure about acquiring talent via the rest of the free agents or waiting patiently for another month until the NFL Draft. There are some tempting names –and some curious names, on the list still. One veteran, a former Brown, might “Phil” an obvious need. (Apologies for that.)
Removing all doubt, no, it is not Isaiah Crowell. He made his feelings about the Browns known last year on national television committing a rude gesture to the organization. (Shortly after this, his team, the New York Jets, were embarrassed by their loss.)
Veteran place kicker Phil Dawson is available as a free agent. John Dorsey should be more than interested in him. Many Browns fans would contest, with sound reasoning and his statistics, that Dawson was the most consistent offensive player for the Browns since 1999. According to Pro Football Reference, Dawson ranks second all-time in franchise scoring, which is a given for kickers. With the Browns, he has made 350 out of 358 extra points (97.8% accuracy) and 305 out of 363 field goal attempts (84% accuracy). Dawson’s numbers have slipped at Arizona the last two years, which may be the reason they parted ways with him. Still, Dawson is a way better option at 41-years-young than any kicker since he left in 2012. While new Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer seems to think he can pull an All-Pro kicker out of Greg Joseph, the current Browns kicker, it might be a good idea to invite Dawson back, even if perfunctorily.
The gesture would be even more than gratuitous; it would be ironic. Dawson spent his entire career in Cleveland until 2012. Easily, he became a fan-favorite with his consistency, his attitude, and how he embraced Cleveland. He won fans over with his hard-work and positivity. He studied the weather reports in Cleveland so much so that the local press would joke about him getting a weather reporting job after he retired. He even scored a rushing touchdown and was not afraid to drop a kickoff returner every now and again, endearing himself to the fan base for certain. The reason he left was to try to win a Superbowl with the San Francisco 49ers, who were a bonafide contender at the time, and no one in Cleveland blamed him. Now that the Browns are forming a real-life, NFL version of The Avengers, in an attempt to go for an NFL Championship, Dawson would have one last legitimate shot at the title.
There are some very intriguing names on the free agency list still. Some notable names left on the waiting list include Sam Bradford, Blaine Gabbert, Jay Ajayi, C. J. Anderson, Michael Crabtree, Kelvin Benjamin, Ndamukong Suh, Corey Liuget, Glover Quin and Eric Berry. Intriguing does not mean helpful to the team, necessarily. While the defense could stand to see another safety or the offense could need another lineman or third receiver, kicker is, oddly enough, a position of need for the Browns.
A reunion could definitely be more than a symbolic gesture. Phil Dawson could be a viable contributor to an NFL Championship –something he sincerely wanted to do in Cleveland his entire time there.