Andrew Luck: Cleveland Browns Take Early Lead in Sweepstakes

Richard BairdContributor IIMarch 29, 2017

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal throws pass against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Andrew Luck is one of the best quarterback prospects since Peyton Manning.

In fact, he would have been the hands-down first-overall pick in this year's draft if he decided to go pro. He can make all the throws, he's intelligent, he's a great leader, and he's surprisingly athletic. He was also coached by a former NFL quarterback.

It should be no surprise that teams in need of franchise quarterbacks have made no attempt to improve in free agency. The Cleveland Browns, along with the Buffalo Bills and a few others, have not signed a single playmaker to improve their teams.

And why should they?

Signing a few extra players could make the difference between winning three games and getting the first-overall pick and winning six games and picking 10th.

I know everybody wants to be optimistic with the start of the new season, but those predicting an 8-8 season for the Browns are delusional.

The Browns have a new head coach, a new offense, a new defense, and five weeks to get ready for the season. All over the field, they are counting on young players, most of whom have never been successful in the NFL, to produce.

I encourage all Browns fans to prepare for, and even embrace, failure this year.

Tom Heckert and Mike Holmgren are. The inactivity in free agency speaks volumes.

They know they are not prepared to compete in the division, so why go out and sign expensive free agents? It's refreshing to have a front office that isn't going to overspend when they aren't going to win anyway. Save the cap space for future signings.

Instead, they are waiting to get the all-important quarterback piece in place. Colt McCoy's ceiling is limited; the best case scenario for the young quarterback is a Jeff Garcia-type career. Garcia had some success in the league, but he never had the ability to take his team over the top.

Andrew Luck, according to most experts, is a perfectly molded franchise quarterback. Many have compared his combination of tangible and intangible abilities to those a certain other Stanford quarterback.

With the new CBA in place, and thus the rookie pay scale, picking first overall becomes much less of a risk. The Browns would probably be paying Andrew Luck less than $25 million in his first contract.

I wouldn't mind being wrong and seeing the Browns succeed this year, but I wouldn't mind being right and drafting Andrew Luck either.