Everyone thought Moneyball was about walks, but it wasn't. It was about value.
So while you have people making "Browns are gonna Brown" jokes and Brian Billick having no idea what the hell he is talking about, the thing you need to keep thinking about is value. It's about finding an advantage that everyone else is missing.
With everyone snickering, the Cleveland Browns have a chance to change the game. It won't be by making up a new stat that no one will like or understand (looking at you QBR) but by changing the thinking of things like positional value and when to go for two (almost always).
But what if there was a way that the Browns could find value at the one place where no one finds it?
Now play along for a minute as this idea is out there. But what better time to try this? Browns have a new outside the box approach, a new unique front office and a blank slate to do whatever they want. It's the perfect storm.
I'm talking about the Quarterback. Did you think I was going to say anything else?
The idea is simple, you take the Quarterbacks no one else wants, pay them almost nothing and build an offense around their strengths. I know it sounds simple and there is a reason for that, it is simple.
Every single year the league turns up their nose at a large group of young Quarterbacks and tells them they need to play other positions. Guys like Nick Marshall, Greg Ward Jr., Keenan Reynolds and Dak Prescott are late round picks or told that they need to play slot WR, RB or CB. Terrelle Pryor anyone?
Side note: I would be THRILLED with watching Greg Ward Jr. running around making plays.
It doesn't stop there. There are 4-5 of these guys every year. You have a never ending supply of young players that could be plug and play. They are cheap, they are everywhere and no one else wants them. That's value. Gobs of it.
So what are the downsides?
First, these are not pocket Quarterbacks. These are not guys that will develop into guys that will throw for 4,500 yards a season with a 40-10 TD-INT ratio. No, these will be a different breed of Quarterback. You will need to build an offense around these limited skill sets. Read options, QB sweeps, run-pass options and the like.
This isn't a bad thing. You will be doing something that no other offense in the NFL does on a full time basis. Can you imagine what a nightmare this would be for opposing coaching staffs? 16 weeks of the season you prepare for the same thing week in and week out, but that one week you play the Browns you will have to throw everything out and start from scratch. The Browns will be miles ahead every week. At some point it will catch up, but worry about it then.
You will need at least 5 Quarterbacks on the roster at a time. With these guys running all the time, injuries will happen. But when they are all cheap and all over the place the biggest issue will be special teams. Gone from the team would be a guy like Marlon Moore who will cover kicks and you will need a guy like Tim Tebow to be a punt protector while being the 3rd string QB. Is that a perfect situation? No, but that's a minor setback.
Did I mention that you are saving 20 million dollars a season? While teams like the Packers have Aaron Rodgers and all the benefits, that comes with a massive price tag. Which means they let certain guys leave. You saw it with the Peyton Manning Colts having to let guys like Pierre Garcon walk. Browns won't have to. It will be like the Browns having 20 more million dollars than anyone else. In a league that has a difference of winning and losing thisclose, that's huge.
This would take massive onions to do. If it failed the FO would be laughed out of the league going down with Marty Mornhinweg taking the wind. But if it worked, and I think it would have at least middling success at the worst, the Browns would be in a great spot.
Value. Remember that word. Hopefully the Browns go big. After all, why not?