The Cleveland Browns quarterback situation for the 2013 season remains a mystery. Head Coach Rob Chudzinksi said it was “premature” to call Brandon Weeden the starter for next season as of right now. Weeden may not have a vote of confidence from new vice president of player operations, Mike Lombardi, who did not have kind words for Weeden prior to the 2012 draft, stating he was a “panicked disaster”.
Weeden was far from a first-round bust as he showed good potential with his arm strength on downfield passes. Still, Weeden’s accuracy issues were very noticeable and that attributed to his whopping 17 interceptions. Lombardi may or may not have a different opinion on Weeden after seeing him play a season under center but it is widely known that Lombardi does have a strong liking to New England Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett.
Ryan Mallett, a third round pick in the 2011 draft, has seen very little regular season action thus far. He has thrown a mere four passes, completing just one of them. But Mallett has looked impressive in each of his two preseasons with the Patriots, giving reason to believe he could one day be a starter in the NFL. With Tom Brady expected to play another five years at quarterback for the Patriots, it is doubtful Mallett will ever be the Patriots full-time starter. Therefore, Mallett could soon be on the trading block and he will likely get decent interest from teams with question marks at the quarterback position, like the Browns.
The Browns, however, would be wise not to trade for Mallett. The speculation around the league is that Mallett to the Browns makes sense because Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has familiar ties with Lombardi. The two worked on the same staff for the Browns in the 90s when Belichick was the Head Coach of the Browns. Although the two have a relationship with one another, that does not mean Belichick will be doing any favors for his protégé. For example, the Patriots were able to trade highly-sought-after backup quarterback Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for the 34th overall pick in the 2009 draft. That trade turned out to be a steal for the Patriots as they got a very high draft pick, while Cassel has been a disaster for the Chiefs and Mike Vrabel appeared washed up in Kansas City before eventually retiring.
Bill Belichick may be the greatest coach in NFL history but outside of Tom Brady (who is arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history) he has struggled to develop quarterbacks. Therefore, the Browns should stay far away from Mallett. Giving up an early draft pick for an unproven quarterback would be a big mistake for the franchise and it would not look good for the new regime. The Browns would be better off sticking with Brandon Weeden, who threw for an impressive 3,385 yards in 15 starts this season. Trading for veteran Alex Smith would be another viable option. But a path the Browns cannot take is trading for Mallett, who has yet to start an NFL game in his career.