Thanks to a productive first day of free agency, the Cleveland Browns have actually been able to establish a little goodwill with their beleaguered fan-base. The aggressive spending to boost an offensive line which nearly killed five different quarterbacks last year, as well as the very savvy Brock Osweiler trade have, at least temporarily, removed Cleveland from its typical post as league-wide laughingstock.
Lord only knows how long the Browns can keep this moment in the sun going. One ill-advised move would be all it takes to send them free-falling back to being the punchline of the NFL.
If you’re searching for an example of just what kind of bonehead decision would have everyone mocking Cleveland again, look no further than the latest rumor surrounding the team’s potential solution at quarterback.
Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Browns have expressed some interest in free agent QB Geno Smith. If you spent even a little time watching the four-year pro during his time with the New York Jets, you know Cleveland acquiring him would be a mind-numbingly terrible idea.
There hasn’t been too much smoke from this specific rumor, just Rapoport’s claim the Browns have shown interest in signing Smith. As it stands, this report combined with the team’s embarrassingly awful attempts to find a franchise quarterback since 1999 was enough to send fans into a bit of a panic.
There are a handful of ways Cleveland can at the very least find a temporary fix at quarterback for 2017. Signing Smith is not one of them. In fact, you could argue bringing him in might set the team’s futility at QB back even further.
To say Smith was a bust in New York is an understatement. In his first two years as a Jet, he threw 25 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. He only logged a combined three games across the next two seasons after that thanks to a torn ACL last year and a teammate breaking his jaw in 2015.
This alone should be enough to send the Browns running in the opposite direction. If they needed more proof – which would be depressing on its own – they could just read yesterday’s column from New York Daily News writer Manish Mehta.
While addressing Smith’s meeting with the New York Giants, Mehta doesn’t hold back in tearing the former Jet apart. Words like “embarrassment,” “26-year-old child” and “pathetic player” are tossed around without abandon. He notes Smith’s propensity to whine and even attempt to intimidate media members. Mehta goes so far as to suggest Smith join the Canadian Football League.
So, we have a player who’s been putrid on the field and, based on the words of someone who covered him for four years, even worse off of it. Tell me again why the Browns would even go so far as to show interest in him?
One would wish this is simply a rumor which fades away as quickly as it popped up. At least that’s the hope, since any attempt to argue for signing Smith falls flat on its face in mere minutes.
For one, how is Smith better than anything the Browns currently have? Say what you want about Osweiler, but rolling him out for Week 1 would still be a better idea than hitching your wagon to Smith. Heck, even Robert Griffin III‘s numbers were comparable to the Jets flame-out and Cleveland just finished cutting him.
Secondly, what is it that the Browns – or anyone for that matter – find even remotely appealing about Smith? His performance on the field speaks for itself, he’s never once looked like he could even be a reliable franchise backup and it certainly doesn’t sound like he’s someone you want in your locker room.
For what it’s worth, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says she’s not getting the vibe Cleveland has any actual interest in Smith. Hopefully this is indeed the case. If the Browns really were looking into signing him, they better start prepping the PR spin now. They’ll likely find out very quickly that finding anything positive about Smith is quite a difficult task.
Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook
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