The Scouting Combine gave the entire NFL a great chance to get a good look at this year’s quarterback class.
One team that everyone is paying attention to which quarterbacks they are watching is the Browns. They have the first overall pick and a huge need a quarterback, not to mention plenty of cap space.
This comes from an executive with a historically reliable ear to the ground: Cleveland, with four picks in the top 35 of the draft, is still exceedingly interested in signing free-agent quarterback A.J. McCarron after the trade-deadline-day debacle last fall … and then backstopping him with a rookie quarterback in the draft. I’m hearing that’s coach Hue Jackson’s preference, having coached McCarron in Cincinnati as Bengals offensive coordinator.
This makes a ton of sense for Cleveland, especially if they also draft a quarterback early. The interest is obvious given that Hue Jackson was McCarron’s offensive coordinator during his run as a starting quarterback when Andy Dalton went down. The Browns tried to trade a lot (a second and third-round pick) for him already. It just makes sense.
Although, there seems to be a few options at the quarterback position entering free agency, so it is slightly surprising that Jackson seems so set on McCarron. Players like Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum are surprising additions to the class with Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees.
The chance of Brees leaving New Orleans seems slim, though. Then there are players like Tyrod Taylor who could be dealt from Buffalo, and Nick Foles, who just won a Super Bowl, seems to also be available at the right price.
With all these options, it is strange that Jackson seems fixated on McCarron, who really was handed the keys to a Ferrari in 2015 when he took over for Dalton. Looking back, that was probably the most talented Bengals team of the Dalton era, and McCarron still didn’t ever wow you as a quarterback.
It also doesn’t seem like a situation that would be great for McCarron to go into in Cleveland. Jackson seems to have a very short leash after only winning one game over two seasons.
The Browns will also probably be taking a rookie to sit behind McCarron, and if we noticed anything about Cleveland, it is if the starter isn’t getting it done then calls for the backup start early. Those calls would be even louder for a guy who would be more viewed as the future of the franchise than McCarron would be.
I think McCarron would be smart to include an early out to his contract either way. Having a rookie sitting behind you means at some point, you’ll be out of a job. Look at what happened with Mike Glennon in Chicago.