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Haslam talks free agency, draft

Posted Feb 1, 2013

NEW ORLEANS -- During a brief session with the media Friday, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam talked about the team’s plans for free agency and the NFL Draft.

NEW ORLEANS -- Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam discussed the team’s approach to free agency with the media after watching Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas’ introduction as a finalist for the 2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Friday.

Haslam said CEO Joe Banner and vice president of player personnel, Michael Lombardi, have begun the analysis of potential free agents.

“We’ve got an entirely new group in and the coaches and Mike and Joe and our entire team are looking over the current crop of free agents and they’re studying,” Haslam said. “I think we have a pretty good feel for what our needs are. They’re going to look at free agency and we’re going to look at the draft.

“I think we’ll be selective in what we do in free agency, but if there’s some talent out there that matches our needs and it’s at the right dollar level, then, I think we’ll probably make some moves. I don’t think you’ll see us making any big, splashy, high-priced moves because I think we’ve said all along, we’re going to build through the draft.”

From a salary cap standpoint, the Browns have options when it comes to pursuing free agents.

“I think it’s probably premature for me to say anything,” Haslam said. “Our new group’s been in place two or three weeks, and they’re going through. I guess it was two weeks ago today that we announced Mike, and Mike’s been working 24/7, studying, watching a lot of tape. I think we’ll have a meeting in a couple of weeks and have our second meeting on free agency and they’ll give us their ideas on who’s out there at what position.”

Haslam also addressed the Browns’ quarterback position, and how offensive coordinator Norv Turner and head coach Rob Chudzinski plan on handling the situation.

“I think Norv and Chud have been very open that they like a lot of what Brandon (Weeden) does, but we’re going to have competition at that position,” Haslam said. “I think competition makes us all better, and we’ll see where that competition comes from.”