If the Browns plan to give the Hatfield treatment to Colt McCoy, the sooner they pull the trigger, the better.
It’s an issue that lingers because, two months after using the 22nd overall pick in the draft on quarterback Brandon Weeden, the Browns have not traded nor released 2010 third-round pick Colt McCoy, whose performance as the starting quarterback directly resulted in the Browns using a first-round pick on a 28-year-old former baseball player.
And I’m specifically making the point now (and again) that the Browns should move McCoy sooner rather than later because Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently argued (as pointed out by Alper in the one-liners) that the Browns shouldn’t hurry to get McCoy off the roster, primarily since keeping him for a couple of exhibition games could maximize his value.
The problem is that, by keeping McCoy for too long, the Browns may inadvertently maximize his standing among the fans and the local media, sparking claims that maybe he should be the primary backup to Weeden — or that maybe McCoy should still be the starter.
While most of the names have changed since 2007, the Browns desperately need to avoid any situation in which McCoy would be playing and Weeden would be watching. When Derek Anderson got the nod five years ago after Charlie Frye (another former third-round pick) was traded after a disastrous Week One showing against the Steelers, Anderson felt zero pressure because everyone assumed he was holding the spot until first-rounder Brady Quinn was ready to play. And then Anderson, who wasn’t forced to look over his shoulder and could relax and play football without obsessing over whether the next incompletion would be his last one, played very well.
By 2008, Anderson was the starter. And then he had something to lose. And lose it he did. And Quinn could never find it, not with Anderson still looming.
Given that history, who cares whether the Browns get anything for McCoy? The better plan is to get the most out of Weeden, and that won’t happen if McCoy somehow ends up on the field once the regular season starts or, perhaps even worse, hovering over Weeden’s shoulder if/when he struggles to take advantage of all the attention that opposing defenses are paying to running back Trent Richardson.
So grab the Band-Aid, Big Show, and rip it off. One motion. It may hurt in the short term to get peanuts for a third-round pick, but it’ll hurt a lot worse over the long haul if keeping McCoy for too long prevents Weeden from developing into the long-term answer at the position.