Pre-Combine News and Notes: Cleveland Browns
In just over a week, the Browns will be sending representatives to Indianapolis at the Scouting Combine. That is a crucial part of the NFL season for two reasons. Outside of the obvious that front offices can get up close looks at potential new members of their clubs, recent history has shown that this has been an outlet for trade and free agency discussion amongst franchises. However, before that begins let’s look back at what has gone down for the Cleveland football team.
McCloughan on Board
The former General Manager of the Redskins, Scot McCloughan has joined up with the Browns in a consulting role for the upcoming league year. It’s been reported that the executive has shared his feelings regarding some possible quarterbacks for the Browns. First, is that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback – but not a great, franchise signal caller (you can win championships with). Secondly, McCloughan has made mention that he is supportive of the former University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. Granted, the former Redskin will be employed in a part-time advisory role, but one would have to believe his thoughts and beliefs will have to be considered strongly. Personally, I would be ok with either – assuming the Browns secure both a veteran and a top-end rookie, they should vastly improve that position.
A.J. is Unrestricted
In an unusual set of circumstances, Bengals’ quarterback (for the time being) has been granted unrestricted free agency with the team who drafted him, following a grievance hearing. I’ve always envisioned him with the dreaded label “game manager”, but it would appear that he might get his shot to be a full-time starter in 2018. After nearly trading for McCarron last fall, the Browns might take another shot to secure the athlete. The big difference between 2017 and 2018 is that the team has replaced Sashi Brown with John Dorsey (and Eliot Wolf and Alonzso Highsmith). One would have to believe that the influx of football knowledge would overrule Hue Jackson if they did not share the same feelings towards the signal caller. McCarron wouldn’t be my first choice as a Browns’ quarterback but the team could do worse.
It was recently announced that Canton and Cleveland (in a joint weekend) is a possible destination for either the 2019 or 2020 NFL Draft. I would be happy that the local economy would see another spike over a couple of days, as well as northeast Ohio being the center of the professional football world. I might even attend some part of the event – provided they win the right to host. There are other worthy candidates like Kansas City and Denver (to name a few). Either way, I will be watching from somewhere and hope the Browns pick last in the first round instead of first.
Conclusion: In the first slow period after the Super Bowl, the Browns will receive bits of information regarding potential new members of the 2018 squad. First, Scot McCloughan will put in his two cents about the team’s direction going forward. It will be very interesting to see how it aligns with the rest of the front office. Also, A.J. McCarron will be on the market next month, with no compensation required to sign him. Will signing him be a sound decision, or was Hue Jackson (and company) panicking last year when they nearly traded for the Bengals’ backup quarterback?