The Cleveland Browns have another offseason to figure out how to turn things around as the perpetual bottom-dweller in the AFC North division. Trading for New England Patriots QB Ryan Mallett is one potential move that reportedly may still happen, but it shouldn't.
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Browns are still looking into the possibility of acquiring Mallett, even at such a steep prospective cost:
One NFL source said he still expects the Browns to try to trade for New England Patriots backup Ryan Mallett. Another said coach Patriots Bill Belichick won't part with him. The Boston Globe recently reported it would take at least a second-round pick to land Mallett, a former third-rounder.
Recently promoted general manager Mike Lombardi has ties with Pats head coach Bill Belichick—they both were involved with the Browns franchise prior to the team's removal, when Art Modell founded the Baltimore Ravens.
Signals are obviously mixed as to whether this deal will truly go down, and it is just one of Cabot's sources that is indicating this as a possibility. That said, the last thing the Browns need is another quarterback controversy.
Since reentering the league in 1999, Cleveland has started 18 different quarterbacks, and none of them has emerged as a franchise option. B/R's official Twitter page documented this fact after Thaddeus Lewis was named the starter for the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers:
Considering the Browns invested the No. 22 overall pick of the 2012 draft in impending second-year quarterback and incumbent starter Brandon Weeden, it seems incredulous to move on to No. 19.
Mallett has unquestionably tantalizing physical tools, featuring a 6'7" frame that can see over the whole defense and an absolute cannon for an arm. However, he is very statuesque in the pocket, and he has close to zero mobility.
Meanwhile, Weeden is an underrated athlete and has easily comparable arm talent to Mallett—not to mention 15 NFL starts under his belt. The fact that Mallett has thrown only four passes in his career makes him even more of a liability than Weeden, who had a very up-and-down rookie campaign.
The current Browns regime clearly doesn't seem totally sold on Weeden, or else this potential course of action wouldn't be pursued.
New head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner bring an aggressive, vertical offense to Cleveland, which accentuates the strengths of both Weeden and Mallett.
The West Coast offense the Browns ran last year didn't suit Weeden's skills, though, and he should be given a chance to prove himself in the Browns' latest revamping. Since Weeden will turn 30 years old during the 2013 campaign, the new regime should figure out what precisely they have before pulling the trigger on another signal-caller.
There is potential for success for each player in Cleveland's new offense, and the negotiations between Lombardi and the Patriots' brass for Mallett make sense.
It just doesn't seem logically sound for the Browns at this juncture. Offering up a second-round pick to an unproven player to compete with their most recent first-round selection may create an even bigger mess at the game's most important position.
That's something a perpetually struggling franchise can ill-afford to do, and if the current brains of the Browns organization really want to turn things around, stability at quarterback is the ideal place to start.