Browns’ QB Plans Include Veteran, Rookie Upgrades?

The Sashi Brown regime will likely be most associated with the decisions to trade out of draft spots that ended up producing Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. Well, that and an unprecedented losses in a two-year span.

But John Dorsey may be preparing for a multifaceted approach to fixing the Browns’ quarterback situation. The Browns are expected to pull the trigger on a quarterback at No. 1 overall, and Dorsey said several could be on the radar at this juncture, but Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com expects the Browns’ Week 1 starter will be a veteran not currently on the roster.

Cabot writes the Browns will acquire an experienced passer, adding this player would play in front of the to-be-determined rookie to start the season. This would differ from Cleveland’s 2017 approach, which included giving DeShone Kizer the reins immediately. Cabot mentions Alex Smith as a candidate the team will attempt to acquire via trade.

Cabot expects Dorsey to attempt to trade for Smith, whom he acquired in 2013 for two second-round picks while with the Chiefs, and still draft a quarterback at No. 1. Smith has one year and $20.6MM left on his contract, and the Chiefs are reportedly ready to explore a trade and turn to Patrick Mahomes in 2018.

This would be interesting given how far the Browns may be from contention, but Hue Jackson said this multi-pronged solution at quarterback would be in play this offseason despite its perceived redundancy. The Browns having gone 1-31 over the past two seasons, it would seemingly make sense to not waste additional resources on a franchise-quarterback salary instead of letting the rookie learn from the start, but the team does have a warchest of cap space. Cleveland’s expected to possess $110MM in space, so just about anything could be in play come March.

As for the rookie the Browns will pair this to-be-identified veteran with, Cabot does not see it being Baker Mayfield. While a report emerged over the weekend that Mayfield may be the type of player Dorsey covets, Cabot still sees the Browns as having multiple other QBs above him on their early board. Jackson’s proclivity for bigger quarterbacks could well play a role here, Cabot writes.

A Mayfield play could look similar to the Browns’ Johnny Manziel gamble, with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writing that Jimmy Haslam could well enter the decision-making process as he did in 2014 when he pushed for Manziel. Noting it would be difficult for Dorsey to say no under these circumstances, Florio writes the Browns would be hoping the Oklahoma product that shares some on-field traits with Manziel doesn’t share enough of the off-field troubles with him. Haslam reportedly intervened this spring in Brown and Co.’s draft process in hopes of a quarterback pick, so it wouldn’t be out of character for the owner to step in again.

Several scouts and execs Cabot spoke to at the Senior Bowl see the similarities between Mayfield and Manziel, but Dorsey came to the former’s defense this week.

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30 comments on “Browns’ QB Plans Include Veteran, Rookie Upgrades?

  1. dustin daugherty 824

    could Alex Smith really help this Browns team? and if so how much? let the discussions begin!

      • Michael Chaney

        Well who wouldn’t rather have Cousins? He’s younger, better, and wouldn’t cost draft picks. That’s a no brainer.

        BUT…Alex Smith could definitely help the Browns. I definitely think they could stand to add a running back (I’m not sold on Crowell and he’s a free agent anyway) and probably another receiver (Corey Coleman really isn’t that good and can’t stay healthy anyway, while Josh Gordon is one more misstep away from being gone again), but they already have some pieces in Gordon, Duke Johnson, and an improving David Njoku. The problem was that Kizer just played really badly. A more competent quarterback could honestly go a long way.

        • sufferfortribe

          Did you see where I said “Of course he could”? That was about Smith.

          I do agree on the RB. I hope they go with Barkley at #1. And yes, one or two quality WRs would be nice.

          • Natergater77

            So just curious if this sounds crazy. I’m not a Browns fan so maybe not as inside the thoughts of organization.

            They trade for Smith, at this point probably a 3rd and 5th rounders. They take Barkley 1 and Josh Allen 4. (I realize Darnold or Rosen whichever Giants don’t take is left for Denver) But then they sign FA Allen Robinson as WR across from Gordon. It be a start for them.

            • sufferfortribe

              Not crazy at all. I could see Dorsey going with those picks. Robinson would depend on his injury recovery.
              The big question is……Smith or Cousins? Remember, Cousins played at MSU, and can handle the cold in Cleveland, and could be had for longer.

              Personally, I don’t want a bridge QB. I want someone who will solve our QB dilemma for years.

            • ThePriceWasRight

              No way the browns do that. I’m not arguing that those two picks aren’t potentially good ones though I’d rather go an and Fitzpatrick. That being said, if the browns aren’t drafting a QB at 1, trade the pick and move down. see of the giants bite and trade a second to move up 1 spot from #2 to #1 and then make your pick whoever it is. in this QB heavy draft and needing a QB, you can’t just pass o e up at #1 as that pick has too much value.

              • Natergater77

                Gettlemen is focused on rebuilding the line. He won’t give up a valuable 2nd round when he can stake whichever QB is left.

        • brucewayne

          Cousins is not gonna sign with the Browns! Nor any other decent QB with any sense. They are gonna have to draft or trade for a QB!

          • Paul Kingsley

            Got ya Nostradamus ! Also, may I borrow your crystal ball ? I can think of a thing ( like the winning numbers in the next power ball lottery) or two (like the winning numbers in the “following” 2 power ball lotteries) in which to use that kind of “magic power” on. As compared to wasting it—- on finding out what team Kirk Cousins signs with in 6 weeks.

            As far as your “prediction” that no decent QB–with any sense–would sign with the Browns….Why not ? The team has a very good offensive line, a top shelf wide-out in Josh Gordon, 2 young, talented tight-ends (one who has elite traits), and the makings of a top flight front seven on D. You add that, with the 1st and 4th overall picks in the upcoming draft + over 100 million in cap space….and suddenly this team is ripe for a ‘VERY’ quick turnaround !

            Oh, and the typical….”their the Browns, they will just mess it up” phrase ? Well, this time they are more likely to ‘NOT’ mess it up….considering they have GM John Dorsey + Elliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith running their personnel department.

            The Browns went 0-16 last season for 3 reasons….1) the youth, and thus inexperience of their roster….2) they could not throw the football….3) they could not stop the other team from throwing the football; especially on 3rd down.

            However, by playing a whole lot of rookies 2 years in a row; the team was able to develop a core group of players (especially on the d-line) quickly. The Brown’s issues with inexperience should be much improved in 18. A veteran QB would take care of problem #2 immediately ! And their 3rd and last problem–a poor pass defense–could quickly turn around by drafting Alabama S Minkah Fitzpatrick # 4 overall + signing a cornerback like Truman Johnson in free agency.

            So….if the Browns were to sign Cousins + Johnson in free agency, select Saquan Barkley 1st overall, and Fitzpatrick 4th overall….they could further address their receiving corp, secondary, and offensive line depth with the three 2nd round picks they also have. This may sound like a lot, but the Cleveland Browns have the draft picks and cap space to make it all very realistic. If not probable. They just have to get Cousins to stop listening to people like you !

  2. Polish Hammer

    Smart move. They bring young kids in and throw them right into the fire and ruin them every time. Draft one and let them sit a minute.

  3. TJECK109

    Trading for Alex smith shows smacks of desperation so that Hue can actually get a W next season and it would end any hopes that their 2nd round pick from last year will ever play. How do you evaluate Kizer with that joke of a head coach and offense?

    • Michael Chaney

      Since when is a team desperate for trying to find a quarterback who can hold onto the ball and win games?

  4. Ezra77

    They should go after Smith or Bridgewater. Get Barkley with the number 1 and trade down with the 4 and get O-line or receivers

  5. slim7180

    I would personally, and I know my opinion does NOT matter, pick Barkley at #1. He a bigger, stronger version of LeVeon Bell. I imagine the Giants will take a QB at 2, but I just don’t see the Colts drafting one… then the Browns are back up at #4 and should still be able to get one QB from the Darnold, Rosen, Allen, Mayfield pile. Plus they have (3) second rounders this year which they could use to get multiple O-line or depth. They could even package them and trade back up to the 1st for a player they don’t think will make it to the second. They got a lot of options… but either way I still take Barkley at 1!

    • sufferfortribe

      Agreed! And as for trading back into the 1st, I can see them doing it for a WR or FS.

  6. Marty z

    Sign Sam Bradford FA, draft Barkley, Fitzpatrick, then best available QB with #33.
    Could be Jackson, Rudolf or Mike white.

  7. tylerall5

    Finally the Browns have some competent leadership. I personally think it’s never a great idea to draft a young QB and throw him into the fire. Draft the guy, groom him, let him mature, and then you have your franchise player.

    • jhuck5

      Seems like a solid idea. They have the picks and cap space to draft/trade/FA multiple QBs. That position is terrible for the Browns. Kizer would make a good third strong QB. He needs development time as well.

  8. Malik216

    IF we were to snag a vet FA QB, I would draft Barkley at 1 and Minkah at 4 or the best pass rusher. I think we would go backwards if we drafted a QB at 1. There is no QB we can draft that would be better than Kizer right now. Kizer May have pooped the bed last season but he has NFL experience and that’s huge! All he needs is a vet QB to take him under the wing and mentor him and I think he’d be just fine. If worse comes to worse draft a QB later in the draft. When was the last QB drafted in the 1st round, won a SB, that isn’t named Manning?… grabbing a high pick/profile QB isn’t mandatory, however, drafting the right one is.

  9. Malik216

    Right now Kizer is better than ANY QB we would draft! He would be top 2 if he’d come out this year like suggested he should have. Grab a FA QB, to teach, mold, and mentor him. Grab Barkley at 1, and Minkah or the best pass rusher at 4. Continue to build, Browns!!! We’re just down, we’re not out!!!

    • Malik216

      When is the last time a 1st rd QB not named Manning won a SB? There is no need to over evaluate these guys coming out because of pressure. We don’t need a high pick QB, we need the right QB.

      • Kjran24

        Big Ben, Eli,Rogers ,Flacco 5 out of last 10 SB these guys CMON MAN no your for all

        • Malik216

          The question was rhetorical and Eli doesn’t count. His last name is Manning! Just proves my point even more, they are not worth the reach.

    • Peterd

      Kizer looked confused out there most of the season. Not sure I’d want to make him the heir apparent to anyone. Backup maybe

  10. Paul Kingsley

    Very little of what MKC reports can be believed. Her stories tend to reflect what ‘SHE’ wants the team to do; more than what the GM might be “inclined” to do.

    This has played out over and over again, leading up to the last few drafts. She reported back in 2015 that Ray Farmer really wanted to trade up for quarterback Marcus Mariota. But draft day came and went—-and the Browns never engaged the Titans in meaningful trade discussions. Last year she was floating the nonsensical idea that the Browns should trade the12th overall pick in the draft for Jimmy Garoppolo. But in addition; also suggested they use the 1st overall pick on North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky. Only a mental patient would suggest such a thing !

    I am in no way saying that the Browns do not need to address the quarterback position in this year’s draft. In fact, I fully expect them to do just that with the 1st overall pick. I just believe there is a good chance John Dorsey selects the QB he likes, instead of the quarterback MKC “reports” he….sorry….’SHE’ likes !

  11. Peterd

    Why wouldn’t Philly look to deal Nick Foles ? A crazy affordable 2018 contract of 5 Mil and change. His value will never be higher. Wentz will be back for the 18 season. Affordable and capable backups are available for Philly but the return they could get for Foles based on that affordable contract would be hard to pass up.

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