Breaking News 10/7/09: The Browns have traded Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets for two players and two picks.
A few days ago I was informed of a rumor heard on the radio that there could be a potential trade brewing between the Browns and Giants that would send WR Braylon Edwards to the G-Men, ostensibly as a replacement for Plaxico Burress, with the Browns getting DE Mathias Kiwanuka in return.
He posted the Braylon Edwards-Mathias Kiwanuka trade rumor and had this to say upon initially hearing about it:
The deal makes sense for both teams on several levels. The Giants would be looking for a credible replacement for WR Plaxico Burress, and are keeping Kiwanuka as a defensive end in a three-man rotation after he switched from linebacker last year.
The 6â€™5â€, 265 Kiwanuka is a classic tweener would like like an interesting option for the Browns manning an outside linebacker spot in the 3-4 defense. Kiwi successfully made the transition from a Boston College defensive end to a linebacker with the Giants, but was moved back as a defensive end following a season-ending injury to Osi Umenyiora.
Also of interest from Cleveland perspective is that Kiwanuka is under contract for two more years. Braylon Edwards can be a free agent after this season.
Kiwi as another OLB bookend with Crabtree perhaps available in the draft? Hmmmâ€¦ count me in as interested.
The next day, after doing some digging, Barry posted about the Braylon Edwards-Mathias Kiwanuka trade rumor again, this time saying (half seriously and half tongue-in-cheek):
I love this Kiwi-Edwards rumor.
Itâ€™s just logical enough to be believable. Infuriatingly, it seems to make sense on some level for both clubs.
Sensing this, the Giants have done nothing but have done their best to torment us with their subsequent moves over the last few days. They went ahead and signed DT Rocky Bernard, and OLB Michael Boley, and DE Chris Canty, all four or five-star defenders according to our rankings.
Cool, cool. They got to have no more room at the inn for Kiwi now, right?
It all makes sense.
Only problem is that I reached out to a NY Giants beat writer, who told me that he got an email from one of the organizationâ€™s higher-ups saying that thereâ€™s absolutely nothing to it.
Pro Football Talk says that the Bucs were sworn to secrecy about K2 (other than that annoying chatter about a Winslow deal on the OBR prior to the trade), and maybe this front office guy is just lying to us.
In fact, IF they were talking about deal, they would DENY it, which means that by DENYING IT, they PROVE itâ€™s absolutely true. The logic is flawless!
So, not a whole lot of hard parts to grab onto here. With Braylon Edwards heading into the final year of his contract, and a new regime at the helm in Berea, it is no secret that Eric Mangini and George Kokinis would like to sign Braylon to a contract extension — assuming Braylon is on board with the philosophies of the new regime and, you know, remembers where he misplaced his hands. However, Mangini and Kokins will also no doubt want to know either way whether Braylon Edwards can be counted on moving forward as they attempt to build a new foundation for success in Cleveland.
So if they can’t reach a contract extension…
Anyway, yesterday I obviously became enthralled with the basically unsubstantiated rumor that started making the rounds that the Browns and Broncos were discussing a trade of Jay Cutler and a 3rd round pick for Brady Quinn and Shaun Rogers. You know how the sports news cycle moves these days. It was only about 36 hours old, but the delicious conjecture of Braylon Edwards for Mathias Kiwanuka was already old news, and there wasn’t really anything else to go on.
Until this morning…kind of.
Over a ProFootballTalk, Mike Florio discusses the plethora of defensive lineman being assembled in New York and ends his post with an interesting, though non-specific, bit of his own conjecture:
As Thornton points out, the Giants now have nine defensive linemen under contract: tackles Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield, Barry Jay Alford, and Bernard, ends Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Dave Tollefson, and tackle-end Canty.
One possibility would be to move Kiwanuka back to linebacker. However, coach Tom Coughlin said at the Scouting Combine that.
Or maybe someone is getting traded. Maybe for a receiver. You know, a good one. A guy who commands double coverage, like the guy who blew a double hole in his leg with a single bullet last November.
I don’t know about you — and perhaps I’m reading too much into it — but I cannot think of too many other wide receivers rumored to be on the trading block that would fit the bill more perfectly as a replacement for Plaxico Burress than Braylon Edwards. And as anyone who has watched the Browns in recent years knows, one of the team’s biggest deficiencies has been its inability to consistently rush the passer. Slapping Mathias Kiwanuka on the other side of the talented and athletic, but highly inconsistent, Kamerion Wimbley would certainly upgrade the Browns’ pass rush.
Update — 3/3 10:55 am: I forgot that Florio addressed the Edwards rumors two days ago. The headline of the post says it all: No Truth to Braylon Trade Rumors — Yet. He went on to say:
Weâ€™ve received multiple inquiries over the past couple of days regarding the possibility that the Cleveland Browns are shopping receiver Braylon Edwards.
A source with knowledge of the situation predicts with a high degree of confidence that Edwards isnâ€™t on the market, and wonâ€™t be traded this year.
That said, who would have imagined three days ago that tight end Kellen Winslow would be shipped to Tampa?
Read the rest of the first PFT post on the Braylon Edwards trade rumors from 3/1.
So, like the Cutler-to-the-Browns rumors, take this one about Braylon Edwards for Mathias Kiwanuka for what it is: informed speculation and conjecture. But I have to say that a trade of Braylon Edwards for Mathias Kiwanuka, assuming Kiwanuka is back to full health with no lingering issues from last season, is an intriguing option, especially with Michael Crabtree potentially sitting there at the #5 slot in the upcoming draft to fill the void of talented, diva-eque, productive-but-not-overly-fast #1 WR.
(Editor’s Note: I misspoke in the previous sentence and got Kiwanuka mixed up with Braylon’s 5 Hour Energy buddy Osi Umenyiora, who was injured last season. Kiwanuka was injured the year before, when the Giants won the Super Bowl. Last year, Mathias Kiwanuka had 8 sacks and 51 tackles.)
The fun part about these Browns trade rumors is that we know we will get almost nothing concrete or substantial to go on from inside Cleveland. The new regime will be as tight-lipped as they come, and I have no problem with that at all. In fact, in this day and age of the NFL, I think it’s probably the right way to go — as long as they understand the need to get in front of certain rumors if and when they do slip out. (And we saw from the Kellen Winslow trade to the Bucs, when deals do happen involving the Browns, they will likely come out of nowhere.) But with so little “hard” info to go on, something will have to fill the void as we patiently await next season.
And there is nothing more intriguing than seemingly legit trade rumors involving Braylon Edwards, Brady Quinn, and Shaun Rogers — three of the most significant current players on the roster.
Eric Mangini proved right away that he wanted to create a new era of Browns football, a new identity for the organization, and distance himself from the last decade of on-field and off-field struggles. Dealing three of the key players involved in last season’s collapse, after the surprise of 2007 — not that it was all their fault, especially in the case of Rogers, who was actually great — would certainly be one way to start with a clean slate.
UPDATE 3/23: There have been a few updates on the Braylon Edwards trade front since we posted this item.Â Since it is still driving significant traffic, I figured I would update the post with the latest.Â The OBR reported yesterday that the Browns and Giants have, in fact, discussed a Braylon Edwards trade.Â However, Mathias Kiwanuka was apparently never in the mix.Â The purported discusssion centered on Braylon Edwards to the Giants for a couple of draft picks plus another WR.Â The Browns wanted Steve Smith while the Giants were only willing to part with Domenik Hixon or Mario Manningham.Â Nothing has obviously gone further, but this apparently is not going away:
So what do you think?
With all of the rumors floating around right now, what do you think will actually happen? What do you want to happen? The comments are open…let the speculation fly.
Braylon Edwards photo courtesy of AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Mathias Kiwanuka photo courtesy of Evan Pinkus/WireImage.com