“Why don’t the Cleveland Browns pick up Colin Kaepernick?”
A friend of mine asked me this earlier today, and the question does make a little sense. It’s beyond apparent Cleveland is still looking for a solution at quarterback, and Kaepernick remains available as a free agent. Coach Hue Jackson already showed his willingness to accept a reclamation project last year with Robert Griffin III and, despite the failure of said experiment, it’s tough to believe he wouldn’t try it again with the former San Francisco 49ers standout.
Still, I found myself quickly explaining why such a move wouldn’t make sense for the Browns. For one, the front office already noted it wasn’t interested in pursuing Kaepernick. However, there’s a little more to why I think signing him would be the wrong move. It should be noted, too, that my opinion has nothing to do with Kaepernick’s controversial 2016 season in which he spent the year protesting during the national anthem.
Instead, I just don’t think the Browns should add any veteran quarterback to their roster.
Such a claim may not make a ton of sense. A depth chart of Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler, Kevin Hogan and the recently drafted DeShone Kizer doesn’t exactly wreak of inspiration. There are question marks abound within Cleveland’s quarterbacks room, so much so that adding more experience almost seems like a necessity.
Until you realize how such a move would conflict with the Browns’ goals this year, that is.
Despite the glowing reviews Cleveland is getting for its draft last weekend, this team is by no means a contender coming into 2017. This is Year 2 of a lengthy rebuild, one which is nowhere near complete. As a result, nobody is expecting the Browns to compete for the AFC North crown next season.
Of course, the team has to improve from last year’s 1-15 record. If things stay stagnant, owner Jimmy Haslam‘s tendency to be impatient may result in some heads rolling on the staff.
Still, nobody is saying 2017 is “playoffs or bust” for the Browns.
With that in mind, what would be the need to add a veteran QB? If the team is still incomplete, with a foundation still being assembled, what difference is a vet like Kaepernick or Ryan Fitzpatrick going to make?
Nobody would see either of these two or anyone else still available on the market as a quarterback of the future. In realizing that, adding someone like that would be a waste of time for a Cleveland team looking to build the roster from the ground up.
Additionally, as uninspiring as the aforementioned depth chart looks, the Browns have to use this upcoming season to do their due diligence and see if they have an answer in house.
Part of this is due to Kessler showing flashes of potential last year before Cleveland’s wet paper bag of an offensive line almost got him killed. After spending big in free agency to improve this area, the Browns need to see what Kessler can do behind stronger protection.
On top of this, Cleveland just grabbed another young QB in Kizer. Sure, he was taken in the second round, so the Browns don’t owe him a ton. Still, with many seeing Kizer as having the highest ceiling of all rookies in this latest class, the team needs to see what it has in him.
All of this is doubly important when you realize how much hype the 2018 quarterback crop is already receiving. With big names like Sam Darnald, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen expected to be top picks in next year’s draft, the Browns need to know whether or not they need to grab one of them.
All adding a veteran would do is limit Cleveland’s chances to get a better look at Kessler or Kizer. Imagine a situation where the Browns go through 2017 with another QB, not getting a good enough gauge on Kessler or Kizer, but sticking with them instead of grabbing one of the big names in next year’s draft.
It sure sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.
While it likely won’t amount to many more wins, the Browns have to stick with the quarterbacks they have in house next year. They need to know if there’s an answer on the roster, or if they need to kick-start the scouting on Darnald or Allen.
This is far more important than wins and losses. As a result, hitching the wagon to a veteran quarterback would be the wrong move to make.