Purgatory is defined by Dictionary.com as, “
In Cleveland, purgatory is better known as whatever it is to be a member of the Browns front office when in the development of
anything competitive a quarterback.
Just for fun, and I don’t feel bad doing this as a Bengals fan, let’s take a look at the Browns starting quarterbacks since 1999, when they rejoined the NFL after becoming the Baltimore Ravens (I know that doesn’t make sense, but google it, I promise it’s a thing): Tim Couch, Ty Detmer, Doug Peterson, Spergon Wynn, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Ken Dorsey, Bruce Gradkowski, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Thad Lewis, Brian Hoyer, Johnny freakin’ Manziel, Connor Shaw, Austin Davis, Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, and Cody Kessler.
That’s a lot of quarterbacks. Like, if you break it down, you can find at least one head coach, a plethora of botched first round picks, and a handful of guys that were on TV shortly following their Cleveland tenure. Overall, many were out of the league or ended up backing up another team soon after their run in Cleveland.
Now, with an obvious number one choice in the NFL Draft, Myles Garrett, staring them in the face and a rocky 2017 already shaking their hand from week one, the Browns are split between a generational talent drawing comparisons to Reggie White as a defensive end and a quarterback with a very low ceiling and a pretty wide floor in quarterback Mitchell Trubinsky.
Winning and losing in the NFL is often defined by the play of the quarterback, but these talents aren’t easily acquired, just look at the Oakland Raiders. After years of swings and misses, the Raiders finally found a guy that looks competitive in Derek Carr… but the Browns haven’t been patient enough to wait for that guy, but that could change this season.
The 2017 quarterback class is full of low ceiling guys who have a lot of holes in their game, many of whom are unproven or commodity back-ups, much to the DNA of names I won’t guilt you for forgetting, like David Gerrard (Deshaun Watson), Brian Hoyer (Mitchell Trubinsky), or Case Keenum (Patrick Mahomes).
Additionally, the trade market is filled with guys who are going to come as expensive additions in terms of trade chips, like A.J. McCarron of the Bengals or Jimmy Garoppolo of the Patriots, both of whom have been solid, but not great, in limited (under 5 each) NFL starts.
Just ask the Seattle Seahawks how their run went with Matt Flynn — they paid him $20.5 million over three years to never start a game, because Russell Wilson took over). They should ask their friends, the Houston Texans, how their back-up-to-starter play went, when they signed Brock Osweiler to a 4-year/$72 million deal, only to bench him halfway through the 2016 season, trading him TO CLEVELAND following their elimination from the playoffs, just to shed his contract (ranty, run-on sentence).
Cleveland football is not good and has not been good since the dawning of the NFL, but if they have any desire of competing within the next ten years, now is the time to make a character change.
With selections coming at #1 and #11 in the NFL Draft, the Browns need to think about 2018, where a pair of quarterbacks sit atop the class, including a guy who looks like a future superstar in Sam Darnold of USC or even at number two, Josh Rosen of UCLA has drawn a number of comparisons to Aaron Rodgers.
Using these selections on Myles Garrett and like, a corner or something of that nature, would go a long way towards building.
Consider the message of Theo Epstein of the Chicago Cubs, who in a press conference upon his arrival, “We decided the way to attack it was to build the best baseball operation that we could, to try to establish a winning culture, to work as hard as possible and to bring in players who care more about each other and more about winning than the people around them thought or the external expectations, the external mindset. That’s something that is going to be important to us here as well.”
Use that mindset, Cleveland. You have to find the right guys, the studs who can win games, not just a bunch of guys who can play four quarters and max-out at an eight win season.
However, I’m well aware that the Browns will go ahead and draft Trubinsky at number one. I’m well aware that their garage of old, used, and gently-worn quarterbacks will give them like, four or five wins, which will be just enough to keep them away from Rosen and Darnold. Cleveland Browns and fans, just be aware that you’ve been warned.