The Cleveland Browns are preparing to open the 2015 NFL regular season, and they’re going to do it with a very weak running game. They’re currently dealing with second-year back Isaiah Crowell and rookie Duke Johnson, and that may not end up cutting it. Now, rumor has it the Browns are not only looking at three free agent running backs in Ray Rice, Montee Ball, and Trent Richardson, but also free agent wide receiver Wes Welker.
As reported by Cleveland.com, the Browns are just one of several teams interested in free agent running back Montee Ball. There is nothing immediately on the radar between Ball and the Browns, but it’s a possibility, and head coach Mike Pettine has faith in his current backs.
“I think if (Johnson) had gone out there and taken every rep (in preseason), we’d be a lot more confident about putting him out there for extended snaps. But I can’t lie and say that doesn’t factor into it some. But if he’s cleared to go and puts a solid couple of days together here, there’s no reason to think that he’s not going to play a significant role in the game.”
The Browns just recently traded away second-year running back Terrance West to the Tennessee Titans for a draft pick. He was their leading running back in 2014, but some reports had him as immature and not advancing his game.
Sports World Report is stating that the Browns are also looking at Ray Rice and have had discussions about bringing him in. Rice has drawn little interest from many teams since being reinstated by the NFL, but the Browns are a legitimate option for him.
Trent Richardson remains a possible option for the Browns, but a distant one. Ever since his stint with Cleveland, he has fizzled out with both the Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders. It appears as if Richardson’s name is on the table as a last resort.
In another part of the offense, rumor has it that the Browns could look at adding one more receiver, depending on how things go in the first week or two of the season. Wes Welker still is on the free agent market and is a great slot receiver who could add depth to the Browns or any team.
The Cleveland Browns have a number of options in the free agent market, but they may give the regular season a week or two in order to judge how things go. Ray Rice and Montee Ball could certainly be running back options for them, though, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see either in a Browns’ uniform this season.
[Image via Getty Images – Doug Pensinger]