The Cleveland Browns (Finally) Take Out The Trash

Doug TarnovichContributor IMarch 17, 2010

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 06:  Brady Quinn #10 of the Cleveland Browns reacts after fumbling against the San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Like a rebellious teenager, the Cleveland Browns finally started to do their chores.

Too bad they did it a year too late.

Okay, so the analogy regarding Cleveland's recent offseason activity is a bit crude, but it illustrates my point perfectly. If the garbage isn't taken out, it backs up, and has a negative rippling effect on the rest of your domain.

Even after you take out the contents of the can, the damage is done. There's an unidentifiable odor, pizza boxes on the floor, empty beer bottles in your bed, and enough junk mail to challenge the structural integrity of your dining room table.

Picture Ozzy Osbourne's hotel room circa 1979.

Similarly, the Cleveland Browns are left to clean up a mess that started to overflow last year.

Before the 2009 NFL Draft, I wrote an article stating my belief that instead of another year of riding the quarterback carousel, it would have been in the Browns' best interest to cut ties with both Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, and draft Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick.

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At that time, both quarterbacks had some trade value and top draft options were much more appealing. Besides, it was worth it just to end the controversy that was left behind by a regime that was largely incapable of evaluating talent and handling the roster.

Whenever I think of former GM Phil Savage's legacy, I picture that green globule from Ghostbusters that would leave behind a slimy residue when it ran into Bill Murray.

Needless to say, the quarterback conundrum left everyone feeling a bit like Peter Venkman. But rather than having a shower, the new brass in Cleveland decided to roll around in the ecto-plasm.

In last year's draft, Cleveland traded down twice, passing over not one but two quality quarterbacks, and followed it up with a ping-pong match between Anderson and Quinn. The season began with an overextended competition that became the laughing stock of the NFL and ended with both men being shipped out for a handful of magic beans. 

Meanwhile, after trading with the Browns, the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers found their starting quarterbacks in Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman, respectively. Sanchez, though certainly not exempt from rookie struggles, helped lead his team to the AFC Championship game.

This is not necessarily meant to be an indictment of either of them, but horrendous decisions made in the front office.

I'm not talking about Mike Holmgren or Tom Heckert. Blaming them for a "lopsided" trade is completely missing the point. These men simply did the dirty deed that should have been done a year prior.

You received just compensation for Brady Quinn, Browns fans. You received a situational running back and a couple of future late-round draft picks, one of which you may or may not get. That's just compensation for a quarterback who played the way Quinn played.

You are fooling yourself if you think otherwise so stop fuming about what you got for him. Be mad about the timing.

A year ago, Quinn was worth at least a third-rounder. But Eric Mangini didn't take out the trash so it overflowed into the present situation: Brady Quinn, near worthless and Derek Anderson, completely worthless. A year ago, these guys had value. Now they have next to none.

There's more.

Whereas last year when the Browns were in position to draft either one of two franchise-caliber quarterbacks, this year they are out of position for the top two prospects, neither one of which are surefire choices.

Though both are extremely talented, Bradford is fragile and Clausen appears to be Jay Cutler Jr. This team is desperate for a starter at football's most important position and the options are unimpressive.

On top of that, you now have a backup and a washup looking to possibly lead the Cleveland Browns in 2010.

Woulda, coulda, Shoulda? Maybe.

But there's a worthwhile lesson to be learned from all of this: Chores need to be done in a timely fashion.

I mean seriously...look at this place.