7 things we learned from Browns GM John Dorsey at the NFL Annual Meeting

PHOENIX -- On a sun-splashed, temperate afternoon at the NFL Annual Meeting, Browns general manager John Dorsey took some time between gatherings of league executives to sit down with local media members and discuss the current state of the team.

The theme, seemingly as always? Competition -- and the fact that the Browns "haven't done anything" yet.

"We just want to make sure that we have enough competition," Dorsey said. "We still have some more weeks ahead to see if we can add some quality players to this team. You just want to make sure these guys pan out. At the end of the day, good teams win in the fall. OTAs are starting, you have Freddie (Kitchens) here beginning to sit there and begin to set the plan out for the team moving forward. ... What these guys have to come to is with a common goal and common purpose and really what it takes to advance to that next level."

The next level won't arrive for some time, but in between, we've assembled seven points we learned from Monday's sit-down.

Take a look at a selection of photos of new Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr., including ones from his time with new teammate Jarvis Landry back when they both attended LSU.

1. The Browns are heading west in search of competition

The Browns are planning to participate in joint practices with the Indianapolis Colts this summer, Dorsey said.

Click here for more on the scheduled period of collaborative work in Indianapolis.

2. Odell Beckham Jr. is excited to be a Brown

While Dorsey said he hasn't yet had a face-to-face conversation with the biggest Browns trade acquisition of the last decade, he said Beckham is ready to get going as a Cleveland Brown. Dorsey is prepared to meet him.

"He's excited," Dorsey said of Beckham. "There's a genuine excitement there. ... I want him to know who we are and if he has any questions, let's talk about that. I think that's important to get off to a really good start here.

"Everything I've heard about the person, he sounds very passionate, very competitive, really good teammate. I can't wait to meet him."

There was an interesting nugget related to the acquisition of Beckham, who was vacationing in Europe at the time of the trade. While Dorsey wouldn't say where it took place, he said the Browns had to venture outside of Berea to get Beckham's physical done.

"It shows you what the Cleveland Browns organization is and how they care, and from a cultural standpoint, you're willing to extend certain things that may seem unorthodox but it's all good to do it," Dorsey said. "I thought that was a way for us to expedite this whole thing." 

3. Dorsey's phone can still be reached for business

When at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month, Dorsey was asked about rumors of Antonio Brown and Beckham being available. He gave the same blanket response to the many questions related to those rumors, holding up his phone and saying "(Steelers GM) Kevin (Colbert), here's my phone." He said the same about Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, with whom he eventually struck a blockbuster deal.

"See this?" Dorsey said as he pulled his phone out of his pocket. "If you're willing to trade down ... I'll look at everything."

4. ... but there won’t be a shopping spree

Following the Beckham trade, which took on a larger helping of salary thanks to the existing contracts of the receiver and veteran pass rusher Olivier Vernon, there isn't exactly endless amount of cap space with which Dorsey can work. As a result, the Browns won’t become shy about pursuing available talent, but will be more prudent in who they sign.

"I think you're at a point right now in terms of this free agency period where you have to very selective and you've got to make it a club-friendly deal moving forward," Dorsey said. "By no means do you want to diminish the skill set, you still want good football players. But you also have to be cognizant of '20 and '21."

Long a resident of the top of this list, the Browns are in the bottom third of cap space in 2020, according to OverTheCap.com. Dorsey knows this and is preparing accordingly instead of driving the team toward being financially frozen down the road.

5. There are options at safety

Following the trade of Jabrill Peppers, questions arose surrounding the position he once occupied. Dorsey said Monday the team is looking both internally and outside of the facility for all potential contributors.

"We have guys on this team who have started at that position," he said. "I think what you're trying to do is you're trying to add competition."

"(T.J. Carrie has) a flexibility of (making a switch to safety)," Dorsey said when asked about the corner. "There's a couple of other guys on that roster, too, who have flexibility to go from corner to safety as well."

Derrick Kindred stands as a plausible replacement in the starting lineup. In terms of pre-snap location -- traditionally an indicator of how one might classify a player's position -- he spent 2018 all over the field, lining up on each hash as a safety, and also along the line. It sounds as if he'll get a chance to win the job with improved performance.

"I think Derrick Kindred, I really thought '17 he played really well as a football player," Dorsey said. "In '18, he didn't play as good as he played on a '17 level, but he played good enough to contribute. And right now I'm excited to see him when he gets back here in OTAs."

As for the veteran options, two names of interest with past connections to the Browns are Eric Berry and Tre Boston. Berry was in Kansas City with Dorsey, while Boston played under Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks last season when Wilks was the head coach of the Cardinals.

"I think they're both really good football players and we have had discussions with their representatives and that's where we are right now with that," Dorsey said.

First, Dorsey and the many other NFL executives will have to spend time in beautiful Phoenix discussing, debating and deciding on myriad potential changes, including rules for onside kicks, instant replay and more. But after they head back to their respective cities, Dorsey will resume business, where the potential for a move again finds life. Remember, Dorsey has his phone on him.

"I'll wait until we get back from these meetings and then we'll kind of reshuffle the deck and I'll get everybody in the room," Dorsey said, "and we'll talk about possibilities and see if we're going to do something like that moving forward."

View an assortment of photos of new Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who signed with the team this week after spending time with the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings.

6. Backup quarterback remains a wait-and-see process

The current roster lists Baker Mayfield and Drew Stanton as the Browns' only two quarterbacks. That will remain the case until Dorsey determines who he thinks is worth signing, even if such a move takes place after organized team activities.

"We all know the importance of that position," Dorsey said. "You don't want to just add somebody to add somebody. You don't want to do that. You want to actually get real guys in here. And that's what we'll attempt to do."

7. Kareem Hunt's path continues with the support of the Browns

Hunt received and accepted an eight-game suspension from the NFL a little over a week ago for his involvement in multiple off-field incidents in 2018. Dorsey said on Monday that Hunt's journey back to the field and to a better future continues with work off the field.

"The league imposed (Hunt's eight-game suspension), we're going to live with it, we're not going to appeal it,” Dorsey said. “I am most proud of Kareem. I don't know if y'all noticed but last week he was out in the community, advocating certain things to young men and trying to mentor them moving forward. He's continually trying to make himself the better version of Kareem Hunt."

Dorsey added the team has a plan in place for Hunt all the way up to September but will amend such plans when the league informs the Browns of restrictions related to Hunt's suspension.

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