Jason Campbell to Cleveland makes some sense

Jason Campbell Football CardThe Browns signed Jason Campbell to a two-year deal yesterday to “add to the pile”1 at the quarterback position. Is this more like Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace? That’s what we Browns followers like to do, you see. We try to put everything in the context of other stuff we’ve seen before. Remember when we were talking about hiring coaches and were forced to endure “logic” about how Chip Kelly was like Butch Davis and Nick Saban because they both were former college coaches?2 Maybe Jason Campbell is like Jeff Garcia or Trent Dilfer. Or maybe he’s just Jason Campbell and unlike any of those other guys.

Campbell is a guy with starting experience. He’s not at an advanced age with declining skills like Jake Delhomme was when he arrived in Cleveland. He also probably hasn’t had the same level of success at the top end that Delhomme had at points with the Panthers. Campbell has had some pretty excellent statistical seasons.

Campbell also arrives as a more qualified starter than Seneca Wallace was when he was brought in by Mike Holmgren. Still, in terms of accomplishing the goals of bringing in a “system” guy, there are similarities between Jason Campbell’s experience with Norv Turner-style offense and Wallace’s prior Seattle experience with Holmgren. 

Beyond the mostly meaningless comparisons and irrelevant anecdotals, Jason Campbell is a guy who makes some sense for the Browns right now. As I pointed out yesterday, unlike a year ago this time, there really was no “solution” to the Browns’ quarterback position. And really, what’s the downside of signing Jason Campbell in free agency? It’s not like trading picks for Alex Smith.

Jason Campbell is exactly what we all think he is. He’s an opportunity to let the team float along without being the reason the team sinks. At worst, he’s a very qualified backup that Brandon Weeden can compete with to be the starter. At worst, he’s hopefully an option that makes any talk of Colt McCoy largely irrelevant. At best, he might be a better placeholder than anyone else available until the Browns can find a guy who projects to be their QB for the next decade.

Consider this. In Jason Campbell’s career his won/loss record as a starter is 31-40. In his most successful statistical years where he threw for tons of yards, his team went 8-8 and 4-12 in 2008 and 2009 respectively. That 8-8 record is the best he’s achieved in any season as a starter. Sounds about right. The team’s record with a certain starting QB isn’t ultimately the best test of a QB anyway. Whomever the Browns choose to helm the team this year is going to need a lot of help. We already knew that.

Jason Campbell is not going to win you enough games by himself to take you to the playoffs, but at least he’s proven he can win enough to keep you out of the top five of the NFL draft, right? For the presumed low cost3 Jason Campbell is a good enough option to push the Browns QB competition for a year.

  1. At this point I can’t remember if this was a Holmgren-ism or someone else talked about “adding to the pile” at positions. []
  2. Fake rules! []
  3. Figures haven’t come out yet on his 2-year deal. []

  • dwhit110

    I agree Craig, this is a fine signing. As everybody has mentioned, there are no difference makers at QB available, so let’s get a low-cost, suitably-skilled guy who gets the system, can compete with Weeden and worry about filing the QB vacancy next year if it’s still an outage for us.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea not really a big deal at all. Add his name to the long list of QBs for this franchise since the return.

  • Jaker

    I like it. Probably one of the better backups in the league, and if he starts, we know we need to move on from Weeden. Now it’s time to trade McCoy.

  • Hopwin

    You couldn’t trade McCoy for a sack of baseballs.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    We would never trade McCoy for a sack of baseballs, it would only confuse Weeden.

  • Natedawg86

    Can you say McCoy to Arizona for third rounder?

  • mgbode

    I can say it (just did), but I don’t see any way it happens. Bruce Arians isn’t THAT dumb.

  • Big Z

    Please. How is Jason Campbell “competition” for Weeden? The Browns will find serious competition in the draft. I do like the move though, because it gives the Browns a reliable, capable backup and gets Colt out of here.

  • mgbode

    “Campbell has had some pretty excellent statistical seasons.”
    “In his most successful statistical years where he threw for tons of yards”

    best QBratings: 86 and 84 (3x)
    best yardage: 3618, 3245 (full 16 games in each)

    2012 Weeden: 3385yds(15games) 72.6QBrating (16 game pace of 3610)
    2011 McCoy: 2733yds (13 games) 74.6 QBrating (16 game pace of 3364)

    So, his “ton of yard” seasons are equal to what we have seen. He was better at not throwing INTs, but he had just as tough a time at getting TDs (76TDs in 71 games started).

  • mgbode

    all of this is despite that I think this signing is okay to get ourselves a backup QB. I just don’t want anyone thinking that Campbell might be the answer. He is not.

  • Kildawg

    Wait a minute… Banner signed a guy over 30 to a multi-year deal? (this was also one of my tweets- same handle for those that are curious)

  • Garry_Owen

    Who’s his competition in the draft? I would think it would be Round 4 or lower. Not sure they’ll find serious competition there (but I’d be all for it, for sure).

  • TSR3000

    You’re high. We might get a 7th if anything.

  • Natedawg86

    If you are going to dream, dream big

  • Big Z

    They’d have to trade back into the second or trade down for a 2nd rounder, but I think the Brownies are looking at EJ Manuel, Tyler Wilson, and Landry Jones. Banner just said on 850 that he “wouldn’t call [the quarterback competition] ‘open’.” That pretty much makes Campbell a backup here, which puts me at ease.

  • Garry_Owen

    I’d love to see us somehow trade back into the 2nd round, but not for a QB – at least not any of those guys. Maybe Manuel; but unless they’re certain he’s “the future,” and by corollary, Weeden isn’t, I hope they don’t spend a 2nd round pick on him.

  • Toddyus

    Okay – that made me laugh out loud at my desk a little.