Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Weeden in ’13 campaign gaining steam

Brandon+Weeden+Cleveland+Browns+v+Dallas+Cowboys+eKx2mZUNPf-lThe Cleveland Browns moved one step closer on Wednesday to having Brandon Weeden be the starting quarterback when the 2013 NFL season kicks off in September.

Just like presidential candidates dropping off the board during campaign season, another potential threat to Weeden was taken out of the picture when Kansas City reportedly made a deal for San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith.

The Chiefs will reportedly give up their second-round pick in this year’s draft and a future conditional pick (that could be as high as a second-round selection) to acquire Smith, a quarterback who was the first overall selection in the 2005 draft and one that has posted only one solid season in his career.

Kansas City is the place where former 49er quarterbacks go when they are done in the Bay Area, as Smith follows a trail put in place by Joe Montana, Steve DeBerg, Steve Bono and Elvis Grbac. (Somehow the Chiefs missed out on Jeff Garcia).

While the Browns say they are committed to making Weeden earn his starting spot, with Smith off the market it seems unlikely that the competition will come from a current NFL player. The thought of seeing Matt Moore, Ryan Mallett or Matt Cassel in a Browns uniform is enough to make even the most hardy Browns fan head for the hills.

That leaves the draft, which according to many is not quarterback rich this year, with the best quarterback possibly being Geno Smith out of West Virginia – at least if you listen to his former position coach.

“I’d definitely take him with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft,” said Jake Spavital, currently the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, but who also coached Weeden in 2010 at Oklahoma State and Smith for the past two seasons. “I’d rank him right up there with some of the other top quarterbacks that have come out in recent years. If you put him in the right system, he’ll be very successful.”

While Browns CEO Joe Banner said over the weekend that the team would probably not look to draft a quarterback at No. 6, something else he said gains more weight following the Smith trade.

“My history has been more trading down than up or staying (where we are),” Banner said. “I have had some instances where we’ve traded up for a player we thought was really good at a position we thought was difference making. But historically I have either stayed or traded back. Accumulating picks over the course the course of the draft is a good strategy generally.”

The fact that Banner is willing to consider trading down could work in the Browns favor. With Alex Smith on the roster, the Chiefs are not going to take a quarterback with the overall No. 1 pick, which pushes Geno Smith down the board.

And with the Bills picking two spots after the Browns and in desperate need of a quarterback after realizing that Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the answer (but only after giving him $24 million in guaranteed money), if Geno Smith somehow falls to the Browns at No. 6, Banner could work a deal with the Bills to get back into the second round of this year’s draft.

The Browns could use that pick to give defensive coordinator Ray Horton some more pieces to work with and still take a chance on a quarterback with a late-round pick to take over for Colt McCoy as Weeden’s back-up.

That’s a lot of dominoes that need to fall, to be sure, but for now it looks like Weeden has made it through the early primaries in his bid to keep his starting job.

It may not be “four more years,” but it’s a start.

(Photo by Getty Images)

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One thought on “Weeden in ’13 campaign gaining steam

  1. Pingback: Rob Chudzinski confirms Brandon Weeden is the man | Red Right 88

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