There are not many times one can say the Cleveland Browns may have won the offseason. While the NFL Free Agency period won’t officially begin until Wednesday, the Browns are clearly ahead of the pack. Despite what other teams may do with Kirk Cousins, Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins, Richard Sherman, and more, the microscope has been on the Browns. What will they do with over $100 million and 12 draft picks?
Their trade for Jarvis Landy was huge, but it was what they did afterward that may have put them in the driver’s seat in the AFC North. The Browns took a chance on Tyrod Taylor. The reason this is big news is that Taylor is set to become a free agent in 2019.
With the Browns stockpiled with 2018 NFL Draft picks, they can use the No. 1 to select Saquon Barkley and the No. 4 on one of the many defensive standouts in the 2018 NFL Draft. Yes, there is no need for the Browns to do something they may regret with their first two picks in the draft. I get it, a quarterback of the future is needed but what was the purpose of trading for a one-time Pro Bowl player in the first place?
Many experts have the Browns selecting either Barkley or quarterback Sam Darnold with the top pick. While Darnold looks to be the clear choice among the other quarterbacks in the draft, there’s no real indication he will succeed. Aren’t these the same experts who praised JaMarcus Russell, Vince Young, and countless other busts? That’s the thing with college players coming to the NFL, you never know what may happen.
By bringing in Taylor, it will give the Browns their best chance of turning things around. Sure, they could go for Darnold or Josh Allen, but are they willing to bet the farm on yet another young quarterback? Some teams have luck in that department, and it just so happens that the Browns are not one of them. Do I really need to mention Johnny Manziel, DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler, or Brandon Weedon?
Those names alone should have the Browns’ brass trembling. Now, what can happen is that the Browns decide to take Barkley and the Giants select Darnold and there are flashbacks to the Carson Wentz fiasco again, But wait, there is still the option of Tyrod Taylor. What makes Taylor a viable option is that he’s a veteran. He’s been in the trenches, led his team to the playoffs, won tough games, and has proven that if given weapons, he can produce.
So what if things went south in Buffalo last year. What quarterback hasn’t struggled? However, if the Browns are serious about winning in 2018, Taylor is their guy. According to SB Nation, the Browns must still select a quarterback with the top pick. Nonsense. With the AFC North as weak as its been in years, the Browns could pounce on the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals with Taylor, Barkley, Landry, and Josh Gordon.
The Browns still have the 33rd and 35th picks and this could give them a chance to go after another quarterback like Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph. There are still ways the Browns can get a quarterback for the 2019 season. There’s no need to do what everyone thinks they should do. This is how the Browns got themselves just one win in 32 games over the last two years.
There is no need to have two rookies in the same backfield with veteran receivers on the wings and a defense building chemistry through games played. The Browns need a presence of someone who has won before outside of college. In three seasons as a starter for the Bills, Taylor has passed for 9,056 yards, 51 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions while completing 62.4 percent of his passes.
Taylor is not Drew Brees or Tom Brady, but the Bills’ offense was centered around LeSean McCoy. The Browns will give Taylor the weapons he never had in Buffalo. Landry may not be a 1,000-yard receiver but anyone who caught 112 passes in a single-season is worth throwing to. Gordon came back last season with a chip on his shoulder, and even with the inconsistency at quarterback for the Browns, he still managed 18 receptions for 335 yards on 18.6 yards per catch in five games. If Barkley is the next big thing, then the Browns’ offense could easily be one of the best in the league.
This is why the trade for Taylor was so huge. I get that Browns’ fans want a face of the franchise, but they must remember that while Taylor is 28-years-old, he’s only been a full-time starter for three years. And, if it doesn’t work out, then he can leave next season and the Browns can go for free agent Nick Foles.