The Browns have long eyed the 2014 draft as the time to finally get a franchise quarterback. According to reports from both CBS Sports and ESPN, they spent over $100,000 to commission a thorough analytical study to determine the best QB available. The study's reported conclusion? Teddy Bridgewater is the way to go.
Cleveland apparently realized pretty early on that 2012 first-round pick Brandon Weeden wasn't the answer for a team that hasn't had stability at quarterback since the early '90s. Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer last year? Both stopgaps. Between trading Trent Richardson for picks and being very, very bad, Cleveland obtained the assets to get what it wanted from a draft that appears strong at signal-caller. It just needed to decide who it wanted.
To that end, former team president Joe Banner commissioned the study at some point in 2013. Banner was forced out this past February, before the study's completion. But it had already been paid for, so why not see what it said?
According to CBS's Jason La Canfora, the study
"[evaluated] decades of successful NFL quarterbacks and [took] all sorts of variables into consideration...and ultimately pointed to Bridgewater having the best success rate of this year's group of quarterbacks."
This puts the Browns in an interesting position. With the fourth overall pick, they could nab Johnny Manziel, who appears to be the consensus top QB available. But if they really believe Bridgewater will be a better pro (and it's entirely possible this is disinformation, deliberately leaked), they could land him there and weather the scorn of observers who think that's too high. Or they could take another asset at No. 4, and pray that Bridgewater is still available at No. 26. Or they could do some trading. It's a tough call; identifying the players you like is just a small part of a successful draft.
The six-figure price tag is sure to occasion jokes, but $100,000 is a pittance compared to what landing a quality QB for the next decade is worth. If the study swayed front-office opinions, if they draft Bridgewater, and if the pick pays off, that's money well-spent. And if it all goes to hell? The $100,000 QB study becomes just another chapter in Browns lore.