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"Cleveland, now I'm done!" Free Agent Diary 3 - Brady Quinn

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by John Gustafson, john@fantasylion.com

In a move that surprised me, the Browns traded QB Brady Quinn to the Devner Broncos for virtually nothing in return (Cleveland, now I’m done). I’m not surprised that the Browns wanted to get rid of him, but I was intrigued that he went to the Broncos. However, the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Kyle Orton isn’t a long term solution. Chris Simms is not a NFL starting QB and 3rd stringer Tom Brandstater is probably another year away from being competitive for the starting job. Considering what the Broncos gave up to get Quinn, why not?

I may be delusional, but I’m not ready to give up on Brady Quinn. First of all, he’s had 2 of the worst head coaches in the NFL (Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangina) who have proven they are incapable of running a successful NFL franchise. Second of all, their offense lacked any firepower and talent to support Quinn most of the year. Third, Quinn started the season off as Cleveland’s starter vs 3 solid defenses (Min, Den, Bal) before he was pulled in the third game vs Bal only to see Derek Anderson come in and throw 3 INTs. Anderson’s barn-burning performance earned him the starting job for the next 5 weeks where he continued lighting up the stat sheets with an average of 117 yards passing and 6 INTs with only 2 TDs. How’s that for confidence in Quinn? To say that Quinn did not get a fair shake in Cleveland would be an understatement. Finally, the Browns brought in Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace as his (and Anderson’s) replacement. Delhomme and Wallace aren’t more than backups at this point nor are they much of an upgrade over Anderson/Quinn. But hey, throw them under the bus to save your job Mangina. I can’t believe Holmgren approved all this. That tells me that Holmgren’s football and talent evaluation IQ may not be what it once was and the Browns will continue to be an losing franchise.

Now Quinn is headed to greener pastures under the tutelage of Josh McDaniels who helped develop Tom Brady and Matt Cassel. If McDaniels can’t make Quinn into a bonafide NFL starting QB, no one can. There is no resolve to the Brandon Marshall situation, but I feel like the longer he’s not shipped off somewhere, the greater his chances are of returning to Denver. If I owned the Broncos, I would do whatever I could to make Marshall happy and keep him in Denver. He is a top 5 talent and truly a rare breed at the WR position. Keeping Marshall would mean that the Broncos with maintain their great 1-2 punch at WR with him and Eddie Royal. My hope is that a second year in McDaniels’ system will result in a re-emergence this year for Royal. Royal is talented but did not get the same amount of looks he did his rookie season (129 targets in 2008, 79 in 2009). This was probably the result of working with a new QB and a new, more complicated system combined with the common drop-off for a sophomore player. I would love for Royal to develop into the Wes Welker of this offense like I think he can be. However, Royal’s peak value would likely only be achived should Marshall stay in Denver. In addition to their WRs, the Broncos also have a solid young RB in Knowshon Moreno who showed some promise in his rookie year and may be the featured franchise RB the Broncos have been looking for since Clinton Portis. Overall, I’m 50/50 on this offensive situation in Denver. There’s definitely potential for the Broncos to have a young, high-powered offense, but there’s also room for this to turn into another debacle in 2010.

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