The carousel of mediocre-to-competent QB talent is spinning, and I want to get off. And not because it’s too intoxicating. For the Browns, we know this is going to end in tears. Tears and barf.
Last week, Cleveland was big on Colin Kaepernick, but apparently only willing to part with a third-round draft pick, much less than the 49ers are looking for. It’s tough to blame the Browns for not wanting to break the bank for San Francisco’s spare parts, especially when there’s still the thorny issue of renegotiating Kaepernick’s deal. Those trade talks are apparently at a stalemate.
VP of football operations Sashi Brown had this to say today. Via Cleveland.com:
Brown said the Browns are not actively engaged in trade talks with the 49ers for Colin Kaepernick, “and at this point we don’t anticipate being engaged with San Francisco.” He said the Browns were called to see if they were interested, and engaged in some preliminary talks. He said the Browns’ interest was “over-reported.”
OK, whatever. Don’t buy that the Browns aren’t still in on Kaepernick, but take this as public negotiation. For the moment, the Browns have options, and leverage. One bit of that leverage comes in the form of Robert Griffin III, who visited with the Browns for two days over the weekend.
Brown, being paraphrased by Cleveland.com, said the team is “moving forward on possibly signing quarterback Robert Griffin III and that the team is doing its due diligence.” Of Griffin’s visit, head coach Hue Jackson said “I think he’s obviously a tremendous talent and a great young man.”
I believe that the Browns are into Griffin, just as I believe that it’s in their interest to squeeze the 49ers by making them think their interest is legitimate. (Next horse down this carousel, the Jets are pressuring Ryan Fitzpatrick by hosting Griffin and Woody Johnson praising him as “a very presentable young man.”)
The thing here is that the Browns have more options than anyone, team or player. They could sign Griffin. They could trade for Kaepernick. They could make a run at Fitzpatrick. Sitting in the No. 2 spot in the draft, they could pick Jared Goff or Carson Wentz. They could sign a quarterback and use that pick on one. They could trade down.
This is highly unscientific, but I feel like the Browns having so much choice is a bad omen for their future. Because no matter what they do, it will be their idea.
It’s tautology meets fatalism: whoever starts as quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in 2016 will be the man that the Cleveland Browns picked to be quarterback. If it’s Kaepernick or Griffin, I trust that they will confirm their best days are long behind them. If it’s Goff or Wentz, I trust that they will be busts. And the weirdest part of this all is, I don’t think any of these players’ negative outcomes are predetermined until the second they sign with the Browns. I am coming to believe, against all logic, that the institutional aura of that place is just so polluted that it ruins players and not the other way around.