As one of the most active teams in free agency this year, the Cleveland Browns made arguably their best offseason acquisition this past Monday, coming to terms with veteran lineman Paul McQuistan. The pickup is Cleveland’s first step towards a much-needed overhaul for their offense.
McQuistan, 6-foot-6, 315-pounds, returns to Cleveland following three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. While in Seattle, he started 40 of 48 games at either tackle or guard for the Super Bowl champs.
Headed into the 2013 season, Cleveland had what many thought was a top tier offensive line in the NFL. They quickly became exposed and revealed the truths of an overrated unit. The Browns struggled with their run blocks, had difficulties with any type of speed rush and saw their third starting quarterback by mid-season.
The experience and versatility McQuistan brings to Cleveland adds much-needed depth and fills a void in the Browns line. Whether he’s at guard or tackle, it can only help Pro Bowlers Joe Thomas and Alex Mack.
It’s no secret the organization has had their troubles since rejoining the league in 1999. In that span, the Browns have had only two winning seasons, one playoff appearance and compiled an impressive list of 20 starting quarterbacks. Needless to say, Cleveland’s offense — including the o-line — is badly in need of some key players.
After finishing 4-12 in 2013, Cleveland dismantled the front office and coaching staff yet again. Desperately trying to change their image in and around the league, as well as with their fans, first time GM Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine are the new faces of the organization trying to bring this once storied franchise back to its winning ways.
McQuistan, Cleveland’s seventh free agent signing this year, joins WR Andrew Hawkins, RB Ben Tate, TE Jim Dray, CB Isaiah Trufant, S Donte Whitner and LB Karlos Dansby in the Browns’ latest overhaul. Pair these moves with current Pro Bowlers Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron, Joe Haden and a plethora of picks in the upcoming draft and this team might just be on the brink of turning some heads.