Please tell me that the running gag ends here of the Cleveland Browns sweeping their quarterback room by the start of training camp each year.
Two years ago, we headed to camp with Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown being the top guys in town. Last year, our preview began with Cody Kessler at the top and Brock Osweiler and DeShone Kizer right behind him. None of those five quarterbacks are on the roster any more as the room has been massively overhauled this offseason.
Kicking off our training camp preview, we are going to split our quarterback preview up into two parts. I knew that Part 1 would definitely feature Tyrod Taylor, but who would be the other quarterback to include? Drew Stanton is technically No. 2 on the depth chart, but we all know that the real buzz will be about what Baker Mayfield does. Ultimately, I decided to go with Stanton in Part 1, because it reflects the mentality the team has heading into training camp: we’re excited about Mayfield, but Taylor is the clear No. 1 quarterback heading into 2018.
1. Tyrod Taylor - Starting QB
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 217 lbs | Age: 28
Experience: 8 years | College: Virginia Tech
Saddled behind Joe Flacco in Baltimore for four years, Taylor didn’t get many opportunities to show off his abilities during the regular season. In fact, when he became a free agent in 2015, he signed a measly 3-year, $3.35 million deal with the Buffalo Bills. Rex Ryan, who was the head coach at the time, liked what he saw from Taylor and made him the starting quarterback.
During his three years in Buffalo, Taylor was incredibly efficient with respect to not turning the ball over. In 44 games, he had 51 touchdown passes to just 16 interceptions. He also proved to be a quarterback who could run for over 500 yards and 5 touchdowns each season. It was enough to earn him a 6-year, $92-million extension, but it contained an option after the first year that Buffalo could decline. Instead of declining that option in 2017, the team restructured his deal, keeping Taylor as the team’s starting quarterback for another year.
The Rams didn't see many interceptions when Jared Goff was under pressure in 2017. pic.twitter.com/RoOHMv1AdH— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 15, 2018
Now playing under a new head coach in 2017, Taylor helped lead the Bills to a playoff berth for the first time since 1999, although it wasn’t without some weird bumps in the road. Taylor couldn’t have felt much support when the team started rookie Nathan Peterman ahead of him one week, which turned out to be a disaster (5 interceptions in the first half alone).
Cleveland will carry Taylor on a 1-year, $16 million deal in 2018. He knows that Baker Mayfield was drafted No. 1 overall to be the quarterback of the future. He also knows that if he delivers a winning season to a franchise that has been desperately seeking a turnaround, he’ll either get a big payday here, or somewhere else. All of the coaches have praised the leadership skills he’s displayed all offseason, and he will have a better supporting cast to throw to than he’s ever had (and probably one of his better offensive lines). Taylor isn’t a perfect quarterback, but he’s a fine choice to provide some optimism and hold the fort for a season or two until Mayfield is ready-to-go.
Final Roster Odds: 100%
2. Drew Stanton - Veteran Backup QB
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 226 lbs | Age: 34
Experience: 12 years | College: Michigan State
You know how I know I’ve been blogging a long time? When I see a quarterback (Stanton) on our team has been in the NFL for 12 years, and I realize that means he was drafted in 2007, one full year after I created Dawgs By Nature in 2006.
The Browns gave Stanton $4.15 million guaranteed to be their backup quarterback. That isn’t chump change, and represents a commitment to him being part of the roster in 2018. I don’t think that Hue Jackson and company will take such a close-minded approach that he would inactivate Baker Mayfield even if he is so much better than Drew Stanton, but I think part of the signing has to do with a bit of an insurance policy so a possible injury to Taylor would not force them to “accelerate the process” with the rookie.
Make no mistake about it, though -- Stanton is a true “backup quarterback.” In 12 years, he’s thrown 20 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions. He made 8 spot starts with the Cardinals in 2014 and then 4 starts last year, filling in for Carson Palmer. This is a really poor man’s Josh McCown.
Another benefit to having Stanton is it places the mentorship role on his shoulders as opposed to Taylor, who should (rightly) have his full attention on being the starting quarterback. Stanton noted that he has been the backup quarterback to three other No. 1 overall picks throughout his career: that would be Matthew Stafford with the Detroit Lions, Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts, and Carson Palmer with the Arizona Cardinals. It’s a role he’s familiar with and happy to accept as he passes some wisdom along to Baker Mayfield.
Final Roster Odds: 95%
In Part 2, we will look at the other two quarterbacks on the roster heading into training camp. Our first poll question asks what type of season you think Tyrod Taylor will have with the Browns.
Tyrod Taylor’s typical season in Buffalo was 3,000 yards passing, 18 TD, 6 INT, with 500 yards rushing, 5 TD. In his first year with the Browns, which do you think Taylor will do?
This poll is closed
He will have a career-best year.
About the same type of production.
His worst year yet (as a starter).