Have We Seen the Last of Brandon Weeden?

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystOctober 23, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Brandon Weeden #3 of the Cleveland Browns warms up before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

It appears that the Brandon Weeden era is finally (mercifully) over in Cleveland. Given the end of the 30-year-old's tenure as starter for the Browns, it's fair to wonder if he'll be part of the team at all in 2014.

The question then becomes: Could Weeden's NFL career be over as well?

Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal passed along the official word from head coach Rob Chudzinski:

Mind you, this is the second time this year that Weeden has been replaced as the starter under center. The first was ostensibly due to a hand injury, but after Brian Hoyer performed well, he was named the starter.

Then Hoyer tore his ACL and Weeden got another shot.

Weeden, as he has at every turn in the NFL, promptly shot himself in the foot.

Brandon Weeden
Two-year NFL career

Judged by just about any standard you can think of, Weeden has been a train wreck in Cleveland. Talk all you want about his arm strength and pretty deep ball—Weeden's accuracy is terrible. He's shown no ability to progress through his reads, locking onto players and tipping throws.

Weeden also holds the ball far too long. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Weeden holds the ball 2.84 seconds per attempt. That's the fourth-longest amount of time in the NFL, and every passer except Weeden that holds the ball over 2.8 seconds is known for their scrambling ability.

Average Time Per Throw
PlayerTime Per Attempt
Michael Vick3.04 seconds
Terrelle Pryor2.94 seconds
Geno Smith2.90 seconds
Brandon Weeden2.84 seconds
Russell Wilson2.82 seconds
Per Pro Football Focus

It doesn't help Weeden, either. On throws where he holds the ball for 2.5 seconds or less, Weeden is completing 59.7 percent of his passes. Bump that number over 2.5 seconds, and Weeden's completion percentage drops to 48.7 percent.

The writing has been on this wall since the beginning of his first start in the NFL.

It's been a long, fast fall for a player who was drafted only a year ago as the future at quarterback for the Browns.

Still, Weeden was drafted by the old regime in Cleveland. In fact, current general manager Mike Lombardi called the selection of Weeden with the 22nd overall pick in 2012 a "panicked disaster," according to Jeff Schudel of The Morning Journal.

However, Lombardi backed off those statements after taking the job in Cleveland and a strong preseason cemented Weeden as the Week 1 starter.

Fans were hopeful that Weeden had turned the proverbial corner, but it soon became evident that not much had changed.

Now, the Browns have turned the offense over to Jason Campbell. It's a damning assessment of Weeden, given how badly Campbell played in limited duty for the Chicago Bears in 2012.

It could also mean the end of Weeden's days in Cleveland. The new CBA makes Weeden's contract easy enough to keep on the books, but with Hoyer coming back from a serious injury and the Browns in possession of two first-round picks, quarterback is going to be a priority for the Browns early in next year's draft.

It's not at all hard to see the Browns deciding that just cutting bait makes more sense to the franchise than keeping Weeden around as a potential third-string passer and first-string distraction.

Should that come to pass, someone will bite. Weeden may be terrible, but so is the situation at quarterback for more than a few NFL teams.

Some club is going to look at the big arm, that 6'4" frame and the 4,727 passing yards in 2011 at Oklahoma State and decide that Weeden's talent is worth a roster spot.

It will probably keep him in the NFL for a while as well. Weeden will bounce from backup job to backup job, making a start here and there due to injury. He may even play well in a couple games, spawning comments about his "first-round talent" and features about his latest "second chance."

Then he'll have another Brandon Weeden game, and back to the bench or waiver wire he'll go.

We may have seen the last of Brandon Weeden as an NFL starter, but we haven't seen the last of him in the NFL.

After all, Brady Quinn is on his seventh NFL season (and fifth team) after signing with the St. Louis Rams this week.

Quinn's "heyday," of course, came in 2009, when he started nine games for the Cleveland Browns.

Back in 2007, just as in 2012 and 2014, the Browns had a pair of first-round picks.

Just as in 2012 with Weeden, the Browns used their second first-rounder in 2007 on Quinn.

Here's hoping history doesn't repeat itself next year.



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