Each week, Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry brings in a bevy of athletes at various positions for tryouts. This is mainly done to stay abreast of what talent is out there, what kind of shape these players are in, what their values are, and if they have the possibility of helping this year’s roster compete.
Friday the 17th was no different. Except on this weekend, a well-known quarterback was brought in: Joe Flacco.
There were 10 other players who had a tryout. On offense along with Flacco was WR Tyjon Lindsey, OG Joey Fisher, C Alec Lindstrom, OG Jason Poe, WR Malik Turner, WR Xavier Malone, and WR former Brown Daylen Baldwin. For the defense, Cleveland brought in defensive backs Myles Hartsfield, Craig James, and A.J. Parker.
None of the players, including Super Bowl XLVII MVP Flacco, left Berea with a signed contract:
Following his workout, Joe Flacco is not expected to sign with the #Browns today, per source. That could be logistical - he wouldn’t be involved in the Week 11 gameplan this late in the week anyway. So, Flacco will head home and both sides can assess.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) November 17, 2023
Much was anticipated with Flacco’s visit more than any other free agent that had visited and put through a workout this year. The reason is that starting quarterback Deshaun Watson has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. What is left on the roster is journeyman P.J. Walker plus rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
With Flacco leaving without a contract, this does not mean he won’t be signed later.
The thought process for fans and the media is that neither is the answer at the QB position for a club that is currently 6-3-0, owns the #6 seed for the playoffs, and is headed in the right direction.
There are two camps on this matter: Yes they can, and Hell no they cannot.
A lot has been written about what to do with the quarterback room. Going into Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, it has been stated that DTR will be the starter with Walker as his backup. From there, the Browns do not have an emergency QB on the roster or the practice squad.
Watson will soon undergo shoulder surgery and has already been placed on IR, which means he will miss the remainder of the season.
Berry addressed the media and stated that a third quarterback will be signed in the near future. His pickings are very thin this late in the season and past the NFL trade deadline.
It is unlikely Cleveland will sign a developmental player for the main reason that their current quarterback room is full of that variety. A seasoned veteran is the most likely. The two remaining QBs have a combined win-loss record of 2-2.
If the Browns had a losing record, then this action would not become so critical. But the fact is Cleveland has a good ballclub and an excellent opportunity to win several games down the stretch.
The usual suspects for the new QB have been Matt Ryan, Flacco, Nick Foles, former Brown Colt McCoy, C.J. Beathard, and Chase Daniel. Other players mentioned as longshot odds have been Tom Brady, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen, and Phillip Rivers. New names to surface are Nathan Rourke, Brett Rypien, and former Brown Kellen Mond.
RG3, who quarterbacked the Browns in 2016 and is still just 33 years old, has lobbied to be signed to replace Watson.
Whoever it is, the sooner the better. With the Cincinnati Bengals losing starter Joe Burrow in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football, they find themselves in a similar situation needing a veteran signal-caller. Jake Browning is just in his second season while the club has A.J. McCarron on their practice squad ready to be elevated as the backup. But the Bengals are grasping for air and may want to launch an all-out effort as their season appears bleak.
If the Browns don’t act soon, Cincy is bound to cherry-pick.
From a timing perspective, generally, Berry has players to workout on Friday with the signing coming early the next week. We could get news about Flacco or one of the other players early in Week 12’s prep.
Would Flacco’s signing matter for the Browns? Any of the other players interest you?