Thanks to the unending stream of frustration the Cleveland Browns have served me since I foolishly started following them, I’ve tried to avoid getting overly stressed by the stupid things they constantly do. They’re going to occur no matter what, so I might as well just accept this as opposed to freaking out again and again.
If there’s anything which would make this mindset incredibly difficult to maintain, it’s this – the Browns sign quarterback AJ McCarron, then refuse to draft a QB in April.
This is what I would label as “my nightmare.”
To be fair, none of this has happened yet, nor has anyone with the team hinted it as a possibility. The only development here is McCarron winning his grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday, officially becoming an unrestricted free agent.
This of course means the Browns won’t have to (stupidly) pony up actual assets to sign him if he remains an offseason target. Though they’ve given no indication he’s a priority target, many believe his heading to Cleveland is a foregone conclusion.
Theoretically, even if the Browns acquire McCarron, his having only six career starts should be enough proof they would still need to draft a quarterback this April. Nobody would honestly consider otherwise. That would just be foolish.
Consider the source. This is a realistic scenario. Frighteningly so.
There are a couple factors behind my concern with Cleveland assuming its QB issues would be solved by signing a player who can’t beat out Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.
For one, the only reason McCarron is linked to the Browns in the first place is the fact their coach is infatuated with him. When it comes to hiding his appreciation for the former Alabama standout, Hue Jackson has been anything but subtle. Many believe he was the driving factor behind Cleveland’s infamous botched trade for McCarron last season, and he’ll likely be pushing the front office to make a move for him next month.
Not only does Jackson likely see him as a franchise quarterback, McCarron undoubtedly views himself as one, too.
He, like Mike Glennon before him, is a career backup who probably feels as though he’s ready to be a franchise guy. Tired of riding the pine, McCarron wants to prove he’s someone you can build a team around.
So, you have a player who feels as though he can be a franchise quarterback and, if he comes to Cleveland, would have a coach who probably believes this to be true, as well. As a result, it wouldn’t be shocking if some within the team facility would start thinking “maybe we don’t need to draft a rookie now.”
Don’t. For the love of all that is holy, please don’t follow this thought.
No disrespect to McCarron, but to assume this team would be all set at QB after signing him would be laughable.
We’re talking about the Browns, here. This team has made screwing up at quarterback an art form. The amount of times Cleveland has felt comfortable opening a season with guys like Jake Delhomme or the corpse of Robert Griffin III is too high to count. As a result, the team can ill-afford to take chances at the most important position on the field.
Betting on McCarron and ignoring what appears to be a solid crop of rookie QBs would be a textbook definition of Cleveland setting itself up for failure. Again.
Instead, the Browns would be better off following the path the Chicago Bears went down last offseason.
They initially assumed Glennon could be a solve at quarterback, only to reverse course and draft Mitch Trubisky a month later. Just a couple games into the season, this certainly looked like the right call. Glennon played poorly, Trubisky took over and now appears to have a solid grip on the starting gig for the near future.
The Browns need to see this as a cautionary tale. Had the Bears decided signing Glennon was enough, they’d be right back where they started, trying to find yet another solution at QB.
Since the Browns have been stuck in this kind of situation for the better part of two decades now, they simply can’t let signing an unproven backup lead into thinking a rookie quarterback isn’t needed. Odds would once again favor the team heading into next offseason wondering how to end the constant string of QB failures.
Again, this is all hypothetical at this point. As a Browns fan, you can’t help but constantly consider the worst possible scenario.
Just know that, if this situation does take place, it would be a decision so bad I’m already stressing out about it.
Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Subscribe to his podcast, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook