Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer with the local media at the NFL Combine on Thursday for about 8-9 minutes. A lot of his comments were very general answers about the quarterback position, and he made it clear that he isn't going to discuss the status of players with the media and their future with the team. If you want to skip the video, I outlined the most important notes below, and the full transcript is here.
QB Situation: When asked if the Browns were going to draft a quarterback, Farmer said, "I would say that it could be safe, but we might not go that direction. It might not be what everyone thinks it will be. There is going to be an opportunity for some curveballs." If that misdirection talk doesn't make your head spin, then I don't know what will. I focused on the first part, indicating that "it could be safe to say 'Yes,'" which is a similar mentality that Mike Holmgren had: we can invest in a quarterback every year, but that doesn't mean we're going all-in.
Not the Greatest Endorsement for Weeden: The comments about the future of QB Brandon Weeden seemed to speak volumes, even though Farmer said the talks would be between he and Weeden's agent. When asked about Weeden's future with the team, Farmer said, "We are only going to talk to Brandon and his agent directly. If they decide to tell everyone else where they are at then that is in their court. I will not tell the media what I will do. Those will come out in time. We will deal with Brandon and his agent and he will release that information when he feels that is appropriate."
That underlined part seems to reference the idea that Weeden might have already put feelers out to the media that he wants out of Cleveland. Farmer was then asked whether Weeden would be a good quarterback in the NFL, to which he responded, "When we grade players, we grade players on what they’ve done in the NFL. The college draft is a projection. Once you are in the NFL, you get graded upon your performance. We have a grade on Brandon and in time his agent and he will both know where we stand." How would Farmer grade, "The Flip?"
No Hints About the Franchise Tag: Talking about the franchise tag or other negotiations, Farmer said, "We’ve talked about all of those things. Again, I’m not going to comment on whether we’re using franchise tags or transitions or what the contract status is or the negotiations that have actually taken place. I will definitely handle those things between the player, agent and the organization." The two candidates for the franchise tag are C Alex Mack and SS T.J. Ward.
Former GM Will Assist Farmer: It was confirmed that veteran front office executive Bill Kurarich will be a consultant to Ray Farmer, but it's interesting to hear that discussions to bring him in happened before Farmer was named general manager. Farmer discussed his role a little more specifically: "Bill does have a relationship with the Cleveland Browns. The relationship was somewhat forged while Mike (Lombardi) and Joe (Banner) were both here. Bill is a consultant. He’ll be working with me directly on all aspects of what I’m going to be tasked to do. So, he’s a consultant and that’s Bill’s role."
It's About Character...Not the Athleticism: The NFL Combine is not about determining a player's athleticism -- that's already well documented prior to this. It's all about getting to know the the core/character of the players...such as what they could do with a single brick. Here's what Farmer said specifically about what he looks for at the Combine:
"This combine – I think that they are all the same to me. You really want a chance to truly interact with the player. The No. 1 thing at any of these events is to get a takeaway of the person. Everybody’s talent is kind of spoken for itself when you watch the film. There’s no more football being played so these guys will be judged on how they play football. The athletic gifts and the tools that they’ll display on the field are really just a confirmation of what your eyes saw. The real piece that you really want to look for in these events is to truly get to the core character of the kid."
Remember that you can follow all of our NFL Combine stories related to the Browns in our StoryStream.