During the team-by-team offseason to-do lists for PFT Live, I said that the Browns need to make a clear decision on quarterback Colt McCoy. Keep him as the starter, or move on. Bringing in someone with whom McCoy would simply compete wouldn’t work.
After trying unsuccessfully to trade up for the ability to land Robert Griffin III, the Browns opted to use the 22nd overall pick on 28-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden. And that means it’s time for McCoy to go.
Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com believes that Browns president Mike Holmgren wants to keep McCoy as the backup to Weeden. That would be a mistake, for a couple of reasons.
First, if Weeden struggles, the mob will call for McCoy, second-guessing the decision the use a first-round pick on a quarterback who isn’t performing any better than McCoy did.
Quinn’s holdout during his rookie season opened the door for Anderson to earn the backup spot behind Charlie Frye, giving Anderson the first crack at replacing the Week One starter when the Week One starter was traded, not long after Week One ended. And with everyone expecting Quinn to eventually take over for Anderson, Anderson played without the burden of worrying about losing his job. Consequently, Anderson performed well, pushing the Browns to the brink of the postseason and earning a new contract and playing worse in 2008, when he finally had something to lose.
The Browns shouldn’t take the chance that McCoy, if given the task of playing until Weeden is ready, would play well enough to make it harder to go with Weeden, especially if third overall pick Trent Richardson opens up the passing game by drawing safeties toward the line of scrimmage. If the Browns liked Weeden enough to make him the 22nd overall pick, the Browns should put him on the field from the first week of his first year. And they shouldn’t tempt fate by giving McCoy a chance to keep Weeden on the bench long enough to make it harder to take the job from McCoy and give it to the rookie.
So don’t play games in the hopes of getting value for McCoy. If a deal can be done now, do it. If not, cut him loose. McCoy’s presence will only make it harder to get the most out of Weeden.