Too late; the bar has been lowered
Thank goodness National Football League player contracts are not multi year. In actuality, they are a series of one-year contracts spread over a specific period of time.
For example, the three-year contract veteran quarterback Josh McCown agreed to with the Browns Friday can be terminated at any time because the money is guaranteed one year at a time.
If McCown, 36 in July, lasts all three years in Cleveland, it will be a major miracle. The fact the Browns outbid the Buffalo Bills for his services is somewhat of a minor miracle.
In so doing, Murphy’s Law paid yet another in a long line of visits to Berea Friday. The Browns have taken a muddied situation at the position and made it muddier.
McCown supposedly is going to be the wizened head who will help straighten out Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw and whomever the Browns select in the college draft in April.
He reportedly is going to be the mentor for one quarterback who has more troubles off the field than on; another who has practice squad talent; and a third whose name we don’t know yet.
Why don’t the Browns just make him the quarterbacks coach? Oh, wait. That’s right. They already have a quarterbacks coach. They just hired 30-year-old Kevin O’Connell to mentor the quarterbacks.
So where does that leave McCown, who makes Cleveland the seventh stop in his tour through the NFL? Will he sort of assist O’Connell in helping new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo install yet another new offensive scheme? Be kind of a player/assistant coach? Is that why the Browns brought him in?
Does that mean he won’t play in regular-season games? Does that mean he won’t have a chance to beat out Manziel, Shaw or whomever for the starting job? Can we assume that no matter what happens in training camp and exhibition games, he’ll be holding a clipboard on opening day this season?
Way too many questions that shouldn’t be arising at this time of the year. Here’s another: What if McCown is clearly the best quarterback in camp? Right now, he is the best quarterback on the roster, which isn’t really saying very much at all. Not exactly something about which to brag.
It is hard to imagine Manziel, Shaw or whomever playing well enough to beat out McCown. It’s also not unreasonable to assume Mike Pettine plays the quarterback who gives the Browns the best chance to win. If McCown is that guy, what does that say about the position?
In a league that has become quarterback-driven, the Browns have taken a gigantic plunge toward the bottom of the NFL quarterbacks barrel.
To be honest, I much rather would have preferred the Browns smoke the peace pipe with Brian Hoyer and bring him back. At least we know what he can do with marginal talent on that side of the ball.
With some intelligent selecting in the college draft by General Manager Ray Farmer, the talent level on offense will improve. But with the McCown signing, the likelihood of a Hoyer return is remote at best.
It will be interesting to see how Farmer, Pettine and – we should all hope – loose lips Jimmy Haslam III explain the reasoning behind their latest signing. The spin that permeates the room should be dizzying.