Cleveland Browns: It's Officially Time To Rebuild

The Cleveland Browns have been immersed in NFL rumors, for most of the off-season. It all started with the release of Johnny Manziel. Questions were raised about what the organization would do in free agency. The Browns haven't been making any headline grabbing news, concerning signings. It's finally official. The Browns are in rebuilding mode. Get ready for the best of times and the worst of times.

After a weird year of dealing with the off-field antics of Manziel, Browns brass is finally getting the chance to deal with real football issues. Johnny Football wasn't the only reason for the Browns tragic and forgettable season, but he was the main attraction. His partying outshined anything that may have been of merit for Cleveland.

According to ESPN, Manziel recently hired high-profile agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to prove he wants to be back in the NFL. His antics with the Browns have soured many teams against him. His former agent, Erik Burkhardt, let him go after the season.

Cleveland Browns
[Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images]"It has become painfully obvious that Manziel's future rests solely in his own hands," Burhardt said, regarding the troubled signal-caller. "His family and I have gone to great lengths to outline the steps we feel he must take to get his life in order. Accountability is the foundation of any relationship, and without it, the function of my work is counterproductive."

He's not Burkhardt's problem or the Browns responsibility. The Cleveland Browns are embarking on a major rebuilding timetable. The future looks promising for the franchise. But, purging the past from memory is the first phase in that process.

The recent release of Karlos Dansby was solid proof of the new direction. The linebacker was released two seasons into a four-year $24 million contract. He's 31-years-old. Part of the Browns rebuilding process is to part ways with players over 30.

"They respect me enough to let me know 'we're going to rebuild this thing and we're going to do it with younger guys and we appreciate everything you've been able to do for the organization but we can't do that to you,' '' Dansby explained, via the Plain Dealer. "They know I can't go through no rebuilding process. They said, 'we respect you enough to let you go pursue your dream and your goal' so I appreciate it.''

Dansby knew his days were numbered, when the Browns fired Mike Pettine and brought in Hue Jackson. The new czar of football operations, Sashi Brown, was installed by owner Jimmy Haslam and things have gotten interesting. Four quality starters have walked away. Even by the Browns standards, that was a confusing move. Even in rebuilding mode, there has to be some semblance of a foundation.

Now, there are whispers about trading another key part of the equation. There has been rampant speculation about the Browns trading nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, amid a total retooling of the roster.

"That's not our plan at all," Brown said of Thomas, per the Akron Beacon Journal. "I know it's been written about a lot. But that's as simple as I can say it."

Cleveland Browns
[Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]The rebuilding mode can be a painful yet rewarding venture, when done the right way. Rumors, fan disappointment and outright nonsense will always cloud the picture and cause rampant confusion. The latest addition to the Browns rumor mill is Robert Griffin III. The Redskins free agent visited the Browns on Saturday and left without a contract, but that doesn't mean he won't be picked up by Cleveland brass.

Sashi Brown commented on the visit from the NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.

"We had a good visit and we'll continue to have some discussions internally and see where it goes."
The Browns are rebuilding. It's official.

[Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]