The 2007 off-season provides a chance for the Browns to try to recoup from another season offered up as a sacrifice to the NFL Injury Gods, who seems to have a bone to pick with the city of Cleveland. Thanks partially to the loss of both Daylon McCutcheon and Gary Baxter to career-threatening injuries, the Browns find themselves having to rebuild the cornerback position.
The last week has shown how potentially difficult that task may be. After pulling out of the bidding for CB Nate Clements when it reached more-absurd-than-expected levels and providing the first stop for the Roderick Hood Potential Employer Tour 2007 (get your t-shirts now), the Browns collated the insights of their respected personnel experts and signed... Kenny Wright?
At first glance, signing the cornerback to a three-year deal seems somewhat baffling. Unfortunately, it still appears that way on second and third glance.
The 6'1" corner from Northwestern State is, if nothing else, well-traveled. Now in his ninth year in the NFL, Wright's career has included three-year stints in Minnesota and Houston, but has lately been more nomadic. Cleveland marks his fourth team in four years, following Houston, Jacksonville, and the Washington Redskins.
What Wright does appear to offer is a tendency to stay healthy. The 29-year-old defensive back has appeared in all but two games over his eight-year career, racking up 305 tackles and seven interceptions in that span.
Longevity and health shouldn't be confused with capability, at least for those still concerned about penciling in a name that empty spot on the starting roster opposite Leigh Bodden.
Scout.com's Adam Caplan told us last night that Wright is a "nickel back at best". Contacting one of the Redskins top beat writers we were told "Kenny Wright is a No. 4 corner. He had a couple good games with the Redskins, but by and large he was a flop as a No. 3. He also failed miserably when pressed into a No. 2 role. He does have experience. But when he signed, and even after he played, I would talk to scouts who called him a No. 4 at best".
The next question would be why the team elected to sign a journeyman cornerback to a three-year contract. This might be of less concern, given the uselessness of NFL contract as a sign of long-term employment. The Browns have locked up Wright if whatever potential they see in him comes to pass, and can spread any signing bonus he was given over three years. Since there are no guaranteed contracts in the NFL, however, the three-year deal means little after 2007.
The signing appears to be an effort to create some little veteran depth the cornerback position given the likely losses of McCutcheon and Baxter, as well with the decisions not to re-sign Ralph Brown and Ray Mickens in recent years. The team is likely far from finished adding talent to the position. Stay tuned.