Although the Browns paid a high-end backup price for Robert Griffin III at two years and $15MM, the team signed the wayward quarterback with the intention he could be their long-term option.
“Our plan would be for Robert, if it carries out, to come in, solidify himself and then, if we felt like he’s our answer longer-term, to begin working on a longer-term deal,” GM Sashi Brown told media — including Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “... He’s just 26 years old and he wants to play for a long time. He provides that upside, if he’s able to come in and do what’s first, which is establish himself as a starter and a capable starter for us.”
Cleveland’s brass is not ready to hand the starting job to Griffin right now, with Josh McCown still in the mix and third-round pick Cody Kessler likely a developmental option. But the Browns are at least paying lip service to the fact the 2012 offensive rookie of the year can resurrect his career for a team that’s had the worst run at quarterback since re-spawning in 1999.
Here’s more coming out of Cleveland.
- Despite Griffin’s signing cosmetically looking like it leaves McCown without a place on a rebuilding team, the 36-year-old passer remains a threat to keep his starting job, per Ulrich. The Browns would also consider keeping him if he doesn’t. “[We want to] have him come in and compete to be our starter,” Brown said. “Josh has been a great presence for our young guys in the locker room, and that QB room is enhanced by his presence. I think [keeping him even if he doesn’t win the starting job will] be a consideration.” Amid the disastrous Johnny Manziel experiment that cycled in and out of the huddle last season, McCown completed 63.7% of his passes and threw 12 touchdown passes compared to four interceptions despite being saddled with one of the league’s worst pass-catching contingents. McCown is owed just more than $5MM this season, the last year of his contract, and the Browns would carry $2.33MM in dead money if they cut him. Of course, with more than $41MM in cap space right now, the Browns aren’t exactly geared toward 2016 contention.
- One of the Browns’ Day 2 picks, Carl Nassib, caused the new GM to make a lofty comparison. Brown said the 6-foot-7 former Penn State pass-rusher has “as good of a motor, if not better, than Joey Bosa,” per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). The Vince Lombardi Award winner after registering a Division I-FBS-best 15.5 sacks for the Nittany Lions last year, Nassib out-produced Bosa last season. But the Ohio State pass-rusher collected 26 sacks in three seasons and recorded 51 tackles for loss in that span, giving the former Buckeye a much more consistent resume.
- Although there isn’t much of a way to disprove this, Brown said Emmanuel Ogbah was the top player the Browns hoped would still be there when they picked at No. 32 (via Ulrich, on Twitter). As a junior at Oklahoma State, Ogbah finished tied for fourth nationally last season with 13 sacks.
- Brown also challenged those who questioned the team’s pick of Princeton tight end Seth DeValve in the fourth round, telling media (including Ulrich, on Twitter) that they won’t be second-guessing the selection for long.