It is easy to imagine Rob Chudzinski during an idle moment in his current job as special assistant to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, noticing what the Browns have been doing and thinking, “Must be nice.”

General Manager Ray Farmer through free agency has already made the Browns better than they were under Chudzinski, and Farmer still has 10 draft picks in his pocket. Not only that — Farmer jettisoned Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell, which is addition by subtraction at quarterback.

The men formerly in charge of the football side of the Browns, fired CEO Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi, who bore the title of general manager, last year handed Chudzinski broken down running back Willis McGahee, troubled receiver Davone Bess, plus seventh-round guard Garrett Gilkey from Chadron State and told him in essence, “Just win, baby!”

The Browns lost their last seven games with a pathetic offense, a defense that collapsed, and Chudzinski was fired.

New coach Mike Pettine, who already proved he's tough by shrugging off the news team owner Jimmy Haslam really wanted 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, has been given upgrades at running back and inside linebacker and, since the Bengals didn't match the Browns' offer to Andrew Hawkins, at slot receiver.

Here is a look at what the Browns have done in free agency so far, comparing the player acquired to the one being replaced where applicable:

Inside linebacker Karlos Dansby replaces D'Qwell Jackson:

Any description of Jackson, while he was with the Browns and especially since his release last month, always centered on him being a team captain and the undisputed leader of the locker room. None of those descriptions recalled heroics on the football field, and that is because Jackson did not make impact plays.

He was a steady, reliable player, but not a game-changer.

Dansby had the best season of his career in 2013 with the Cardinals — 121 tackles, 6.5 sacks, four interceptions and 19 pass breakups. Jackson has five sacks, three interceptions and 15 pass breakups over the last two seasons.

The Browns need an inside linebacker to make a tackle at the line of scrimmage on third-and-1. The challenge for Dansby will be to play as hard with a fat contract as he did in a contract year a season ago.

Running back Ben Tate replaces Willis McGahee:

This isn't even close. Banner was desperate last year after trading Trent Richardson to the Colts. That trade should reap huge benefits this year, but McGahee was sitting on his couch when Banner called. He was paid $940,000 and averaged just 2.7 yards a carry. He was the best back Chudzinski and former offensive coordinator Norv Turner had to work with.

Tate has fresh legs, is only 25, never averaged less than 4.3 yards a carry in three seasons and with only a two-year contract will be eager every Sunday to prove he is a legitimate No. 1 back.

Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins replaces Davone Bess:

I am not heartless. I hope Bess gets the help he needs and straightens out his personal life. But a possession receiver who leads the league in dropped passes (14) isn't much good to a team.

The thing is, Bess had personal issues when the Browns acquired him in a trade with the Dolphins, but Lombardi did not do his homework before making the trade.

Hawkins was a dynamic receiver for the Bengals in 2012 when he caught 51 passes. He will take heat off Josh Gordon if he can return to that form. He was injured last year and caught only 23 passes, but is healthy now.

Safety Donte Whitner replacing T.J. Ward:

The Browns did not lose anything in this tradeoff. Whitner is better in coverage, and the home-grown product wants to play for the Browns. He is unselfish and a more consistent hitter than Ward. Whitner will be a good mentor for third-year safety Tashaun Gipson.

Some fans have expressed concern Joe Haden will leave after his contract expires in 2014 because the Browns did not keep Ward. I do not expect that to be an issue. Haden's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is working on an extension with the Browns.

Tight end Jim Dray and defensive back Isaiah Trufant can make the bench stronger.

The one issue still to be resolved in free agency is the status of center Alex Mack, who has yet to begin his free-agent tour. I am sticking with my belief he will sign the one-year tender of $10.039 million as he Browns' transition player and hit free agency next year.

For now, though, I do not believe Mack wants to remain with the Browns. His agent, Marvin Demoff, told Peter King of Sports Illustrated he can craft a contract that would be difficult for the Browns to match — just as the Browns hope their contract offer to Hawkins will be difficult for the Bengals to match. That makes it seem like Mack told Demhoff, “Get me outta there.”

Maybe a year with Pettine and new offensive line coach Andy Moeller would make Mack change his mind.