Honestly, there really isn’t much surprise about the fact numerous names have been linked to the Cleveland Browns when it comes to who’ll be their starting quarterback in 2017. With the amount of QBs who’ve come and gone over the past couple decades, fans are likely used to hearing a new name every other day.
Yesterday, yet another one was added to the long list of would-be Cleveland quarterbacks. On the surface, it’s easily the best name we’ve seen associated with the Browns all offseason.
Per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, Cleveland might be preparing to make a run at Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. While many assumed the numerous draft picks the Browns have amassed were seen as ammo for a Jimmy Garoppolo deal, a high price tag has apparently shifted their focus.
If the Browns were able to swing such a deal, it would be quite a game-changer. They’d have a proven quarterback playing behind a newly-revamped offensive line, allowing Cleveland to focus the majority of its draft on defense. While it certainly wouldn’t make the team an overnight contender, it would at the very least expedite the current rebuild.
Did you have fun picturing such a scenario? Did it brighten your day a bit? I hope so, because picturing this trade occurring is about as close as it’s going to get to reality. Though there’s always room for surprises, I just don’t see a Cousins deal coming to fruition.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see it happen. Statistically speaking, Cousins is light-years ahead of most of the quarterbacks who’ve had their names tagged to Cleveland this offseason. He’d be more of a sure-thing than members of the incoming rookie class, and also has more experience than Garoppolo. Cousins is clearly a better quarterback than Brock Osweiler, and comparing his stats to Geno Smith‘s would be just plain rude.
With all of this said, I still met Florio’s report with a reaction along the lines of “yeah right.”
The initial complication comes from the fact Washington doesn’t seem too keen on trading Cousins. Various reports claim the QB asked for a trade and was essentially told not to hold his breath. Meanwhile, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer claims three teams have attempted to make a deal with Washington and were “immediately turned down.”
Florio did follow up to poke holes in Cabot’s report, so take every bit of their back and forth with a grain of salt. Regardless, there’s a significant concern which comes up in any potential trade talks for Cousins, something people are equally wary about with the Garoppolo rumors.
As with New England’s backup, the problem with trading for Cousins is the fact he’s only signed for one year. The Browns would be making a deal without any guarantee he’d be around past next season.
Obviously, if this was such an issue, Cleveland could try to ensure any trade is contingent on a contract extension. That said, even if the Browns were making a run at him, and even if they were pushing to make sure any potential deal included a contract extension, it still doesn’t remove one key hurdle.
Simply put, would Cousins even want to go to Cleveland? If Florio is to be believed, the idea of being traded there was actually one of the concerns he had about signing his franchise tag.
You could argue it doesn’t matter if he wants to be a Brown or not, since signing his tender left him susceptible to a trade. While this is true, it still leaves plenty of concern around just how long he’d be in town.
Again, per the report, a trade to Cleveland is something Cousins is already fearing. While his play would go a long way in making the Browns a better team in 2017, would it be enough to change his negative opinion about a team he’s currently not even on? Additionally, if Cleveland is hoping to make a contract extension a stipulation in trade talks, it’s tough to believe Cousins would be on board considering how the idea of playing there was enough to make him apprehensive about signing his franchise tender.
But hey, never say never, I guess. For all I know, the Browns are currently in the middle of incredibly progressive talks with Washington and simultaneously convincing Cousins how great the city of Cleveland really is. Maybe they pull off a blockbuster and find themselves a long-term solution at quarterback and make me eat crow. I’d personally welcome such a thing playing out.
I just doubt it’ll actually happen. Right now, there are too many caveats surrounding this rumor, most concerning of which is the player in question’s legit fear of being a Brown.
It’d certainly be a huge move if it could be made, but right now I’d advise fans not to put too much stock in the idea of Cousins coming to Cleveland.