Whether you were OK with the results from the 2016 Cleveland Browns or you were sorely disappointed with them, we can all agree that the team will need to get a lot more out of the quarterback position in 2017 and beyond.
Cody Kessler showed some promise during his rookie season, but he has a long way to go before we can call him an adequate quarterback. Robert Griffin III mostly played as advertised. He showed some promise prior to the season with his ability to throw a gorgeous deep ball, but that pass never materialized into anything in the regular season. Instead, Griffin spent much of the time abandoning the pocket early, holding onto the ball too long, and failing to properly diagnose the defense. These were the issues that plagued him in Washington. Josh McCown is old.
Since the season ended, however, there have been some possibilities at the quarterback position that have been floating around the internet. One of those potential scenarios involves Tyrod Taylor. Taylor started for my alma mater, Virginia Tech, for four seasons spanning 2007-2010 before being selected in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. His first four seasons were spent backing up the ever-elite Joe Flacco before winning the starting quarterback job in Buffalo. He is currently under contract with the Buffalo Bills and cannot speak to anyone in the Browns organization, but recent rumblings out of Buffalo indicate that Taylor could be left out of general manager Doug Whaley’s plans for the Bills in 2017.
The Bills fired head coach Rex Ryan prior to the final game of the season against the New York Jets. Interim coach Anthony Lynn opted to start backup quarterback E.J. Manuel over Taylor in spite of some decent numbers from the former Hokie in the 2016 regular season. This move was reportedly fueled by Whaley and Terrence Pegula, the owner of the Bills. Taylor threw for 3,023 yards in 15 games and threw 17 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions and two lost fumbles. He also rushed for 580 yards and six touchdowns.
Buffalo has a new head coach in Sean McDermott, but the owner and the GM are both still present, which allows all of our imaginations to wander. If the Bills are looking to save money and attempt a rebuild of the roster, Tyrod Taylor could find himself cut from the team. Should the Browns then make a move to sign him?
Taylor has shown that he is a solid, if unspectacular, option and could immediately add some wins in 2017. If McCown is released or moved onto the coaching staff, the Browns would only be paying significant money to one quarterback as Kessler will be on his rookie deal for three more seasons. This would allow the Browns’ third quarterback slot to go to a rookie from the 2017 NFL draft.
The results from the quarterback position for the Browns were so erratic in 2016 that it was nearly impossible to determine the progress of the rest of the offensive players. It was common for Terrelle Pryor or Corey Coleman to only see a couple of passes that could actually be caught over the course of a single game. Taylor will never be a quarterback who puts up over 30 passing touchdowns in a season, but the Browns could have a reasonable passing offense to go along with the best rushing offense in the league with Hue Jackson and Taylor at the helm. That he rushed for 6.1 yards per carry in 2016 and 5.5 yards per carry in 2015 is an added weapon for Jackson to potentially deploy.
Tyrod Taylor hasn’t been released from the Bills as of yet, but if he is released, the Browns should consider the possibility of making him their next quarterback.