What better way can you think of to wake up on a Sunday morning to see rumors that Jake Delhomme has told the Browns he has no intentions of being a backup and wants to start. The rumors came from the National Football Post's Dan Pompei in his Sunday Blitz column.
It would seem to be that at the age of 36, Jake Delhomme would appear to be at the stage of his career where he would make an ideal backup. But it’s starting to look like he either will be brought back to Cleveland as a starter, or he won’t be brought back at all. My Browns peeps tell me everyone really wants Colt McCoy to be the starter. But if the work stoppage drags on into the summer, McCoy, a second year player, might not have enough time to learn what he needs to learn and prove to new head coach Pat Shurmur that he’s ready to start. In that case, the team will likely feel more comfortable with the veteran Delhomme. Bringing him back to Cleveland as a backup is complicated. Delhomme has told the team he has no intention of being a backup. He wants to start. That means he might not be willing to take a paycut. And he’s probably making too much to be brought back as a No. 2. If not for the labor situation, Delhomme would probably already be a former Brown.
Now let's take a look back to late November and what Delhomme had to say about the Browns' quarterback situation, prior to starting a game against the Carolina Panthers:
"Certainly I will be fired up to play, because I'm sitting back, watching the young kid (Colt McCoy) play, and he's pretty good,'' Delhomme said on a conference call with Carolina reporters. "So I'm like, 'Have I played my last down?' That can go through your head. The kid's playing well, and he is going to be the future of the Cleveland Browns. I understand that. So it's a great opportunity about it. I am excited about it, I will say that."
Reading between the lines, here is what I think:
- Delhomme has already given a vote of confidence to McCoy.
- Like Seneca Wallace, Delhomme's competitive side still wants to play, and if he goes somewhere, he'd appreciate the opportunity to play for a starting role.
- He may have told Cleveland that he doesn't want to be a backup, but I think that means he doesn't want to be a "guaranteed" backup heading into a season. He knows McCoy is already the guy and that Wallace was signed to a new contract to be the backup with knowledge of the West Coast Offense. With the Browns, the best Delhomme could do is be a third-string backup with a significant pay cut compared to what he has now.
- When it came to the tidbit of the lockout influencing Shurmur's decision to possibly start Delhomme in the event of an extended lockout, that sounded like Pompei's opinion only. I don't think any source told him that information, and it would go against everything that Holmgren and Shurmur have been preaching. Part of the incentive of bringing Shurmur in was that he was quickly able to work with a young Sam Bradford last season.
I think there's nothing to worry about here folks, except for the fact that Delhomme will decline to take a pay cut so that he can try to compete at least for a No. 2 job elsewhere.