I'm sure you heard Friday defensive end J.J. Watt formerly of the Houston Texans was released after over 10 years there. And the rumor is, he could come to the Browns. Wouldn't that be fun?
Social Media was, and is all lit up with many keyboard experts squawking about the salary cap, the cap room, the fact he's older, he gets hurt, and quoting stats that really don't matter. He's too expensive, we can't give up a draft pick, think of the future blah blah blah...all these "financial general managers" chiming in. Yes, J.J. Watt is 32. Yes he's had injuries and yes he's not the player he once was. Most of everything mentioned is undeniably true. But who the heck cares? It's time to think about where we are. Time to adjust the thinking.
For us Browns fans, we are kind of in No Man's Land. The Browns are in rare air and we are right there with them, as we really haven't been here before. Usually right about now we are thinking about who we are taking with the first pick in the draft, trading up or down, who will be the QB, head coach, what obscure name will be our Offensive Coordinator, what third string WR that played at Auburn will fit in here, or some nonsense like that. Those days are temporarily over as the Browns are now legit, and poised to make a real run at the AFC and beyond.
The Browns have the talent for the most part, and what they don't have today they will have in short order, with the draft, free agency and a trade or two. They have the coach, and the fans, now they need the missing part - The intangibles. They need a few grownups on both sides of the ball to lead this team on and off the field. There are a few crevasses in the NFL, the head coach can't fill, that only the leaders on the field can when it matters. The Browns have proven they can win, now the Browns need to find the guys - that won't let them lose.
J.J. Watt would be one of those guys, but not the only guy. My gut feeling is he wants to win badly, and so do the Browns. If they could get him for a bargain, in a specialized role, he would be very valuable. Older, hungry veterans to show the young players how to win, on and off the field. We need to stop thinking the way we always have. STOP with the draft, the future, the salary cap, the past, the luxury tax....STOP. Look where we are right now. We are not rebuilding, we are ready. It's winning time and time to get the final pieces we need. The painting is just about done and it's time to frame it. We are not used to this, many fans are stuck in the Cleveland sports quagmire.
Cleveland teams have a great record with this. When Cavs traded for Akron's own Nate Thurmond, he was "too old." But from the second he came to town, the Cavs were easily the best team in the NBA - Thus the Miracle In Richfield. When the Browns got defensive end Lyle Alzado, and Calvin Hill they were "too old," and the Browns became the Cardiac Kids and were probably the best team in the AFC. Indians got a "washed up" Orel Hershisher, and Dennis Martinez and went to the World Series and were the best team in MLB. And the Tribe and Andrew MIller? See, these older guys showed a young team how to win, and that's where we are. Hey, it doesn't always work out, but it's worth the risk.
It's our time and J.J. Watt is right on time, but he's not the final piece, or the only one the young Browns need. But his pedigree is, and if the Browns take a chance on him, others may follow him here. Winning in football - as much as any sport there is, begins way before kick-off - in the locker room. Look at what Brady did with the Bucs. I am aware there is one Tom Brady, but the formula is the same. He signed, others came with him, as it showed players around the league and in the locker room in Tampa, the Bucs were serious about winning.
Oh yeah, Brady was too old too. GO BROWNS!