The fact that Brandon Weeden wants to abandon your sinking ship may be the final insult.
On the same day that Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi were removed as Cleveland Browns CEO and general manager, respectively, per The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot, the team was rocked by the news that its star quarterback wants out.
OK, so the words "rocked" and "star" were used a bit liberally. More accurate would be the opposite of those terms.
NFL.com's Michael Silver reported that Weeden wants to play elsewhere in 2014, per NFL: Around the League:
Mike Silver: Brandon Weeden wants out of Cleveland.— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) February 12, 2014
Per NFL.com's Chris Wesseling:
"Given the turmoil with the coaching staff and lack of public support from the most recent front office, he's interested in a fresh start with a clean slate and an opportunity to compete to show he has the talent to develop into a productive player in the league," Silver reported Tuesday on NFL Network's NFL Total Access.
There will almost certainly be a line of teams queuing up to obtain Weeden's services. The problem for the Browns is that most, if not all, of those teams are in the Arena Football League.
Of course, this implies that Weeden won't be cut first, which is what ESPN.com's Pat McManamon wrote back in January. "Weeden will be cut, not because of money (his salary cap figure is $2.2 million), but because this regime didn’t want him and gave him a chance because it had no other options," he said.
Looking at Weeden's value, it's not exactly a seller's market, so the Browns don't have a wealth of options.
Still, these present the three best options for the QB heading into next year.
How do you replace an interception-prone quarterback? You trade for another interception-prone quarterback.
Wait. That doesn't make sense. But let's not let logic get in the way of things.
To be fair, Weeden had a better touchdown-to-interception ratio (1-1) than Matt Schaub did last year (1-1.4). So that's an improvement, right?
In all seriousness, there's a case to be made for this move.
There's no way Weeden would open the season as the starter. The Houston Texans are almost certainly drafting a QB with their first-round draft pick, whether it's Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel, and whoever is selected will be the starting QB in Week 1.
As a backup/last resort, Weeden would be serviceable. He's at least as good as, if not slightly better than, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates, as crazy as that sounds.
Strong arm? Check. Throws interceptions? Check. Approaching 30s? He's already there, so check. Limited NFL ceiling? See previous answer, check.
Everything's in place for Weeden to become the next starting quarterback of the Oakland Raiders and follow the path blazed by Jeff George, Aaron Brooks and some guy named Rich Gannon.
Much like with the Texans, the cupboard's pretty bare in Oakland. Does any of Terrelle Pryor, Matt McGloin or Matt Flynn inspire any sort of confidence in the fanbase?
Also like Houston, the Raiders will likely draft a QB, whether it's one of the three aforementioned options or somebody further back like Jimmy Garoppolo, Derek Carr, A.J. McCarron or Zach Mettenberger.
Weeden at least has starting experience in the league and isn't as much of a wild card as Pryor or McGloin. He could be a dependable backup while the franchise guy comes along in his development.
I'll admit that this is a bit of a cop out.
But does anybody really believe that the Browns will find a trade partner for Weeden? He's a 30-year-old quarterback who's fluctuated between marginal and awful in his two pro seasons. Sure there's been a lot of turnover in terms of the coaching staff and playbook, but that doesn't excuse Weeden's poor performances.
Will Brandon Weeden be on the Browns at the start of the 2014 season?
His trade value is next to nonexistent at this point.
From Cleveland's perspective, it's smarter to hold on to him for the time being and wait it out. Cutting Weeden would bring a somewhat hefty cap hit, so that may not be an option at this point.
Then again, the Browns did get a first-rounder for Trent Richardson. If Daniel Snyder hadn't bet the house on Robert Griffin III, the Washington Redskins could've probably been coaxed into giving up at least a first- and second-rounder for Weeden but not before locking him up to a six-year, $84 million extension.