With free agency looming right around the corner, it's finally time to start discussing something other than the Super Bowl. Over the next couple weeks we're going to talk about the free agents at each major position. It looks like 2012 is going to be another deep free agent class with a lot of high profile players.
Today we're covering the quarterbacks. The first thing you might be thinking is that the Browns should be or even need to address the QB position in the draft and not in free agency. I tend to agree, but this discussion is about any potential free agent QB, even possible backups. There are some names here that probably don't have much of a shot ending up on the Browns and others that are omitted entirely. If you think there is a potential FA QB the Browns should target that might have been overlooked or is even just worth mentioning, feel free to discuss that here. Think of this as a free agency open thread dealing with quarterbacks. We'll start with Matt Flynn, though the players are not presented in any particular order.
- Matt Flynn (GB - 26) – It’s no secret that the hot commodity as far as quarterbacks go in free agency this offseason is going to be Matt Flynn. Since that fateful day on January 1, when Flynn went out and torched not only the Lions’ secondary but all-time Green Bay records by throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns, his stock has skyrocketed. Having spent four years learning under Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, you have to assume that he’s familiar and comfortable with the West Coast Offense, which is a huge plus. But we have to remember that he’s only started two games in his NFL career and he’s thrown four interceptions in those games. I don’t know whether or not he’s the real deal. It’s the not knowing that makes me hesitant to throw a huge contract at Flynn. We’ve seen the Matt Cassel and Kevin Kolb situations in the past (and their respective previous teams cash in). It appears that Green Bay doesn’t have the cap space to tag-and-trade Flynn. I believe some team is going to pay Flynn a lot of money. If that team turns out to be the Browns then it will mean he meets Mike Holmgren’s and Tom Heckert’s approval to run our WCO. That’ll make me feel better about it, but I’ll remain cautiously optimistic.
- Donovan McNabb (MIN - 35) – This is a name that just recently came to prominence in talks about potential Browns around the Cleveland media. Donovan McNabb talked about how he thought Brad Childress was a good fit in Cleveland while in Indianapolis last week. Apparently, rumors about him coming to the Browns were also swirling around Indianapolis. Other than a tweet, I have yet to see any real basis for this rumor and I hope it remains that way. I don’t think McNabb has a lot to offer the Browns. I think his potential in a "mentor" role isn’t all that great. It’s true that he’s familiar with both the offense and this coaching staff, but I don’t think he’s got enough left in the tank to help us move forward. That’s the key for me, moving forward, which is something that I think the Browns really need to do at the quarterback position. If we do draft a young QB for the future of this franchise, I’d still be more comfortable with a backup such as Colt McCoy. McNabb was once a really good starting QB, but at 35, I don’t think that’s the case anymore.
- Kyle Orton (KC - 29) – Kyle Orton has bounced around the league since being traded to the Denver Broncos in the high profile Jay Cutler trade. In his first two years at Denver, I actually think he had decent performances despite an atrocious team record in 2010. Then in the midst of Tebow Mania, Orton dropped off significantly starting in the 2011 season with the Broncos. After five starts and a 1-4 record, he lost his job to Tim Tebow. He was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Chiefs, started two games for them, and finished with an 85.4 quarterback rating for the Chiefs. He wouldn’t be a long term solution for the Browns. But outside of Matt Flynn, I don’t think there are many obtainable QBs in FA with much to offer, the reasons for which are obvious. If he came at a good price, I think he’s an above average backup.
- Chad Henne (MIA - 26) – Chad Henne is still young, so there’s that. In 30 starts he hasn’t been very good for the Miami Dolphins. That’s why they’ve been considered in the market for a new QB. We have seen players such as Alex Smith turn it around in the right situation. But I don’t see the Browns as the right situation for Henne. That said, if Holmgren and Heckert evaluate him and think he has higher potential, I wouldn’t be all that upset to see him compete for the starting job here, assuming the contract is affordable and incentive laden.
- Vince Young (PHI - 28) – Vince Young might only be on this list because he’s a free agent. He also was the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006. It’s been mostly downhill since then, which includes both on and off-the-field issues. I don’t think he’s a good fit for the Browns or any team really.
- Jason Campbell (OAK - 30) – I think Jason Cambell is another above average backup. I don’t think he’s the QB that could ever take the Browns to the next level.
Honorable Mentions: I fully expect both of these guys to return to their former teams.
- Drew Brees (NO - 33) – A report came out today that Drew Brees' agent was baffled at the slow pace of the contract talks.
- Alex Smith (SF - 27) – Unsurprisingly, Alex Smith says he'd love to stay with the San Francisco 49ers.