The Cleveland Browns Are Looking for a Quarterback; What's the Next Step?

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The Cleveland Browns Are Looking for a Quarterback; What's the Next Step?
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
The Browns won't be adding Robert Griffin III, but it's looking likely they'll make a change at QB this offseason

If Sports Illustrated's Peter King is to be believed, then the Cleveland Browns are certainly in the market for a quarterback.

He reported in today's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column that the team offered three first-round picks to the St. Louis Rams for their No. 2 overall spot in this year's draft, ostensibly to grab Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The pick ultimately went to the Washington Redskins, who offered three first-round picks and a second-rounder—quite a price to pay, but one that clearly wasn't too high for a team known to overspend to get players they particularly fancy.

Though the Browns didn't land their dream quarterback, they did get to hold onto their draft picks, which they can use to build up their struggling offense. That could also include picking a quarterback, and the two in play would be Ryan Tannehill or Brandon Weeden.

The issue with Tannehill is that he will likely be off the board by the time the Browns reach their No. 22 first-round pick, but he's not worth their No. 4 overall pick, either. That means that if Cleveland is sold on Tannehill, they'll need to trade down from No. 4 or up from 22 to grab him, and neither seems to be the smart move.

Brett Deering/Getty Images
QB Brandon Weeden is no stranger to the color orange

Instead, Weeden at No. 22 (or perhaps at No. 4 in the second round) makes more sense for Cleveland. Though Weeden will be 29 years old once it's time to take the field, that fact could turn off teams that could otherwise benefit from him, making it an easy play for the Browns to make.

Speaking to the media last Thursday, Browns general manager Tom Heckert had nothing but praise for Weeden, who he described as "mature," "interesting" and "super smart."

Should Cleveland prefer the free-agency route, they also have a few options—some more affordable than others.

First, there's Matt Flynn, who saw his free-agency stock rise considerably after throwing six touchdowns in the Green Bay Packers' Week 17 win over the Detroit Lions. Flynn is fairly untested as far as free-agent quarterbacks go, but that hasn't prevented him from being one of the most talked-about players on the market this offseason.

Other free-agent options include Chad Henne (who may command as much as $5 million this year and thus could be out of play for a Browns team that wants to play it fairly safe financially), Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton or even David Garrard.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Isn't it strange to think that the Browns don't need Peyton Manning?

One thing that is clear is that the Browns are not one of the teams in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes.

Manning's price tag, injury issues and the fact that he won't be a long-term solution for any team that signs him makes him unattractive to Cleveland. Also, he will have his pick of suitors and wouldn't have likely been interested in coming to the Browns if they would have made an offer.

It's obvious after this whole RG3 process that the Browns are most certainly looking for a new starter under center for 2012 and beyond. Who that person may be is still up in the air, but it seems a better move overall for the team to find him in the draft rather than via free agency.

 

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