It’s time, Cleveland. We are about to see the HIGHEST paid backup quarterback in the NFL under center starting tonight. He may be a journeyman, he may not be well-known by many, but he is ours. Let’s take a look into why we are paying Case for this exact moment.
Keenum made his way to the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Houston in 2012/2013 signing with the Houston Texans coached at that time by Gary Kubiak. What attracted the Texans? Maybe the fact that Keenum is the college record holder with 155 passing TDs? Or that he still holds the college football record with 19,217 passing yards as a Cougar? Wait it must be the 1,546 completions; yet another college football record. Keenum can flat out sling the ball around the field. At 6’1, 215, he does not have the size or arm of quarterback Josh Allen but with over 2,000 career passes under his belt he has completed 62% and has totaled an 85% QBR. Again, a backup. I’ll happily take that over the likes of quarterbacks Trace McSorley, Brandon Allen, or Mason Rudolph.
After two seasons of getting his feet wet the Texans, Keenum signed with the Rams prior to the 2015 season. Keenum spent two years in St. Louis/LA playing a limited amount of time working under Gary Kubiak’s friend Jeff Fisher. Keenum did not set any records while a member of the Rams, but he did earn a $2 million dollar deal in 2017 to back up the oft-injured quarterback Sam Bradford.
It did not take long for Keenum to get his number called in Minnesota. Case started in Week 3. He did not look bad. He led the Vikings to a 13-3 record winning the NFC North, working with a familiar name: Kevin Stefanski. The backup journeyman led his Vikings to the NFC championship where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Eagles. A loss Keenum would refer to as “A fire in my belly.
Keenum took his fire back to his roots when he signed in 2018 with the Denver Broncos a two-year 36-million-dollar contract extended by none other than Gary Kubiak. Keenum would start all 16 games, passing for just north of 4,000 yards totaling 20 TDs ( two via the ground). Keenum was sacked 34 times; which is comparable to the 28 knockdowns Baker took last season and is indicative Case will get rid of the ball.
Keenum was traded to Washington that off-season. He would compete and win the starting job prior to being sidelined with an injury. He started eight games tossing 11 touchdowns. This was his last major action prior to signing with the Browns reuniting him with his QB coach whom he had his best season with.
Case Keenum does not have the sexy QB1 appeal. Keenum is not launching bombs like Mahomes or firing off his back foot like Rodgers. We won’t see him get out of the pocket and take off like Steve Young. Keenum has made a living in the pocket; finding his TE in the seam and accurately hitting his WRs guiding his offense.
Keenum represents Cleveland: Never given, always earned.
Hopefully, past experience remains the best indicator of future success. Have faith, Cleveland. Keenum takes the field tonight with plenty of experience and fire to lead us to a victory.