The Cleveland Browns have made a couple of moves at the quarterback position, yet it remains unclear exactly who will be running the offense for their team in 2017. Releasing Robert Griffin III seemed inevitable. He didn’t bring anything to the team. I guess that you would need to actually play in more than five games to have much of an impact on a team, but given his injury history, I don’t see him playing in any more games than that any time soon. He has very little to no value at this point in his career, primarily because of how fragile he is, so it was a smart move by Cleveland to pull the plug with RGIII.
What no one could have possibly seen coming was the Browns trading for Houston Texan disappointment, Brock Osweiler. For only the Browns’ 2017 fourth-round pick compensatory pick, they received Osweiler as well as the Texans’ 2018 second-round pick and their 2017 sixth-round pick. I would consider that a huge win for the Browns whether or not they decide to hold onto Osweiler. They have more than enough cap space to absorb the $16 million on his contract if they decide to keep him and, he isn’t worth very much right now, but there is still a possibility of trading him. That’s the next question though: what are the Browns going to do with him?
The Browns have admitted that the trade was more for the second-round pick than it was for Osweiler himself and have already started searching for a team to take the 26-year old quarterback. They are trying to trade him away with a fifth-round pick in exchange for a third-round pick. On top of that, they are willing to pay at least half of his 2017 salary for a team to take him. Although that does sound potentially enticing to a team, they would still be paying $8 million for a player to just sit on the bench with a fifth-round pick to show for it. It is unlikely for them to find a team willing to make a trade like this, but more likely Cleveland will cut Osweiler. If they do decide to cut him, then they would only take down the price to $12 million instead of paying him the $16 million on his contract. He would then likely be signed by a team for a much lower price than is on his contract because he isn’t worthless, he’s just not worth $16 million a year.
I would personally like to see the Browns keep the young quarterback. Not start him because he didn’t play well on a team where he was surrounded by decent offensive weapons, but just keep him and try and sign a veteran quarterback to start. I don’t think that they should draft another quarterback because it obviously hasn’t worked for them to this point, so just go out and sign a decent, experienced quarterback. He can act as a mentor to the younger guys to help them grow as athletes and leaders on the team as they all become more comfortable in the system that they are in. Unfortunately, that would require there to be decent, experienced quarterbacks in the free agency, but the best that you’ll find is Blaine Gabbert, Mark Sanchez, or Colin Kaepernick. Gabbert is going onto his seventh year in the league and has proven to be a playmaker, so he could be a potential starter, but I like Sanchez and Kaepernick more because of their playoff experience. Granted, the Browns won’t really have the potential to be a playoff team for a couple of years, but it’s always nice to have that experience on the team.
If they were to sign a veteran quarterback, then I would get rid of Kevin Hogan. He did show some potential, but I don’t think that, if they keep both Osweiler and Cody Kessler, that he’ll ever have a chance to start on the team or even be a second-string. Kessler, in my opinion, has much more potential than Hogan and as the Browns’ situation stands, looks to be the most likely candidate to take over for the team.
What the Browns shouldn’t do is attempt to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo. Yes, he looked good in the few games he started for the New England Patriots, but don’t let that completely fool you. I don’t want to discredit Garoppolo’s talent as a quarterback, but we haven’t seen enough of him to be sure just how good he is and he was playing for the Patriots. They are light-years ahead of the Browns in every way possible. He was playing for a team with a plethora of offensive weapons with a future Hall of Fame coach like Bill Belichick running the team. He could run a better team than the Browns with a paper-clip and string. In Cleveland, he would have Kenny Britt and poor coaching. Not many quarterbacks can make something out of that.
If they trade for Garoppolo, then it’ll be a repeat of Matt Cassel or Brock Osweiler. They found a lot of success because of the teams that they were on and, the second that they left, turned into complete garbage. I know that I was just talking up Osweiler, but although he was garbage last year, I still see some sort of hope for him in the future if the Browns can make the right choices.
So what should the Browns do to fix their quarterback debacle? Cut Kevin Hogan, sign Gabbert, Sanchez, or Kaepernick, and keep Osweiler since there is more than enough cap space to deal with his contract. Short-term, these changes won’t make an obvious impact on the team, but long-term, I think that we’ll all see a new and improved Cleveland Browns team.