The Cleveland Browns made headlines on Tuesday afternoon as team reportedly agreed to terms with their quarterback of the future, Brandon Weeden. The deal is reportedly worth a little more than $8 million, and includes guaranteed money for three seasons and a partial guarantee for the fourth year.
Weeden's contract was said to be the most difficult out of all the Browns rookies as reports surfaced that the two sides were stuck on negotiations since sometime in late May. Browns fans and the front office were beginning to wonder if Cleveland would have the former Oklahoma State star in training camp later this week. However, now that contractual issues are aside, Cleveland's faithful can turn their attention to a different type of quarterback conundrum.
Head coach Pat Shurmur stated in recent interviews that he would like to announce his starting quarterback for the 2012 season "sooner rather than later." That means that the front office has either decided on the starter for this season already, or will do so within the first two weeks of training camp. Early indications say that Weeden is favored for the job, and has outplayed both Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace during OTA's and minicamps.
According to Shurmur (via the Cleveland Plain Dealer) "I think (Weeden) understands our concepts, I think he's quickly getting a feel for his receivers. Some things have shown up in practice that may not be as obvious to the people that are watching that aren't coaching it, is understanding what each receiver can do and why we have mirrored routes and why you pick the one side and not the other. Some of those things have shown up and he's showing me that he understands how to play this game."
That type of language seems to give good indication that Weeden will be the guy for the Browns when they open the season against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9. If these reports are accurate, it is hard to imagine the Browns walking into the 2012 season with Weeden, McCoy and Wallace all in a crowded backfield and fighting for reps during practices. Especially with teams such as the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles rumored to be interested in McCoy's services.
It is very likely that the Browns would ask for minimum compensation in any type of deal for the former Texas Longhorn quarterback, and Cleveland would much rather gain some sort of compensation rather than just releasing McCoy outright from his contract.
If Weeden is in fact named the starter, it would be wise for the Browns front office to deal McCoy to another team in order to avoid any serious type of quarterback controversy over the course of the upcoming season. However, it is important to remember that the Browns have only had one season where their starting quarterback did not miss a start over the course of the entire year since they returned to the NFL in 1999.