2014 NFL Free Agents: QBs - Who fits with the Cleveland Browns?

Maddie Meyer

Is it possible the answer to the Browns' problem at quarterback could be found in free agency?

As the smoke continues to settle in Berea following what has been a continually explosive offseason, perhaps the "streamlining" will make more of the process yet to come a tad bit clearer. Big dates and big decisions are now just around the corner, the first of many for recently promoted Ray Farmer, Cleveland Browns general manager.

While clarity might be one of the last words used to describe the previous Banner-Lombardi regime, one name was consistently attached to any conversations pertaining to the future of the quarterback position: Johnny Manziel. He was the apple of Michael Lombardi's eye, and those cards were shown to the entire league when it was reported early on that the team was even willing to trade up for Manziel if need be.

It's safe to assume some things will change with final say in Farmer's hands and Lombardi out of the building.

Meanwhile, amid all this front office turmoil, Brandon Weeden decided that he wants out of Cleveland.

Oh, no! There's wailing in the streets already.

Suddenly the quarterback question rears its ugly head again. What else is new?

Is it possible the answer could be found in free agency? Probably not. If the Browns are looking to fix this problem strictly through those means, we could be looking at another front office shakeup in a couple years. The fact is, great franchise quarterbacks don't reach free agency.

With that said, there is no reason to completely limit the options. Generally, a number of very serviceable NFL backups remain available during this time.

And with a higher demand than there is supply, these guys will find work somewhere, even if they're holding a clipboard.

  • Michael Vick (33) PHI – Vick is the only player on this list that has the talent truly deserving of a starting job in this league. The problem is that he gets too banged up to keep that job. Injuries have plagued his career since returning to the NFL in 2009. Most recently, he had to exit a Week 5 game early against the Giants due to a hamstring, opening the door for Nick Foles, who never looked back. Vick hasn't managed to stay healthy enough to start all 16 games of a season in eight years. Coincidentally, the Browns haven't had a single QB start all 16 games of a season in seven years. If they're looking for yet another stopgap solution until a franchise QB falls in their lap, Vick could be the answer. He's still an effective passer and he's probably someone Kyle Shanahan can have success with, but ultimately this would be viewed as kicking the can down the road for the long-term question at quarterback.

  • Josh McCown (34) CHI – McCown surprised many when he burst back on the scene and played exceptionally well filling in for the Bears while Jay Cutler was out with a groin injury. He proved just how valuable a solid backup can be, going 3-2 in his five starts. It would be a lot to expect this 12-year veteran, who will turn 35 before training camp, to sustain that success over the course of an entire season.

  • Shaun Hill (34) DET – Hill is another longtime veteran who has performed as a solid career backup in this league.

  • Matt Flynn (28) GB – Flynn's probably still enjoying the guaranteed money he made from Seattle. Though, upon returning for a second stint with the Packers, he was given another opportunity to showcase his ability. The results were up and down. He likely won't be handed the reins anywhere, but he could find a place to compete if he chooses to leave Green Bay once again.

  • Josh Freeman (26) MIN – It's rare that a 25-year-old first-round QB is released just one season after throwing 27 touchdowns. You have to wonder: What broke Josh Freeman? Two years before that he polished off what was a very promising sophomore campaign. Now he's fallen to the point of finishing third-string behind Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel.

  • Rex Grossman (33) WAS – At his age and with his body of work, there are better options, but there are also plenty of worse ones.

  • Chad Henne (28) JAX – Despite being among the younger of those on this list, Henne has some of the most starting experience. And in that he's yet to rise above mediocre at best.

Honorable mentions: Colt McCoy, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn. (Wait, scratch that, the Browns have tried those ones already.)


2014 NFL Free Agents: OLDBDL & LBWRRB

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