Yes, pitchers and catchers are set to report for the start of spring training and March Madness is at the doorstep, but, c'mon, we all know that the NFL draft is the nation's favorite sport at this time of the year.
In this area the draft has taken on significant importance because of what the Browns may or may not do with the fourth overall pick, and all the speculation centers on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Browns haven't had an opportunity to draft a quarterback with Griffin's potential since they passed on Ben Roethlisberger to select Kellen Winslow in 2004.
Another question that has caught the attention of local fans concerns where Warren G. Harding graduate Mario Manningham will play next season, and is Cleveland on the list?
The quick answers to the Griffin and Manningham questions about possible interest by the Browns are yes and yes. Expect the Browns to go the full measure to land Griffin, and, according to a source close to Manningham, the Chicago Bears and Browns could be among those vying for his services when free agency begins next month.
There's a reason this draft is considered the most important by the Browns since their return to the NFL. They have three of the top 37 picks, including the 22nd overall choice to go along with the fourth pick.
Add in Griffin, who has a NFL-caliber arm and speed that's needed as the quarterback position continues to evolve, and you can see why this is such an important draft. One could argue the 1999 and 2000 drafts, which included extra picks because of the Browns' status as an expansion franchise, were more important, but try telling that to fans who have suffered through 11 losing seasons in 13 years.
There are still those who believe Colt McCoy can be the answer at quarterback, but they're starting to become an endangered species. Would McCoy benefit from having a stronger line and a couple of receivers who don't drop every other pass? Yes. Can he lead the Browns into the playoffs on a consistent basis? No.
It doesn't appear team president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert are among those who believe strongly in McCoy. Does anyone remember either of the two naming McCoy the starter in 2012 in their end-of-the-season remarks?
The challenge the Browns face is trading up with the St. Louis Rams to acquire the second overall pick. Assuming other teams will be interested in doing the same thing - most notably the Washington Redskins - the Browns have to be willing to pay a big price for Griffin.
They would seem to have the firepower to make it happen with the fourth and 22nd picks and whatever else would be needed. Basically, the Browns can have Griffin if they truly desire his services.
That's where Holmgren's expertise in dealing with quarterbacks enters the equation. It's doubtful he'd be willing to overpay for a free agent like Matt Flynn, who's thrown all of 132 passes in three seasons as Aaron Rodgers' backup in Green Bay.
Holmgren knows better. He's working on the third year of a five-year contract, and he's not about to pay a king's ransom for someone who could be the next Scott Mitchell. He'll take his chances with the young, speedy Griffin.
Manningham was the third receiver for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, but he's better than anyone on the Browns' receiving corps. It would be shocking if the Browns don't sign a free-agent receiver, and Manningham might be a better option than, say, Vincent Jackson or DeSean Jackson, two talented players that carry some personal baggage.
I'm often asked what the chances are of Griffin being a Brown. I'd say it's at least 75 percent. As for Manningham, it's probably a 50-50 proposition.
It makes for an interesting conversation two weeks into the offseason.