The Browns roster currently boasts five quarterbacks, counting unsigned draftee Cody Kessler. The Browns have made it clear that there will be completion at all positions. That competition will not only be for playing time, but for roster spots as well. Let’s take a look at the five players vying for a place in the Browns crowded quarterback room and the likelihood that each will be with the Browns when they begin the regular season on September 11th.
Austin Davis is 26 years old and has played in 13 career games. It’s a small sample size but I think most of us were underwhelmed when Davis was on the field in 2015. He seems to lack the arm strength we crave in Cleveland. He is signed through the 2017 season with salaries of $1.35 million this season and $1.7 million in 2017. His career completion percentage of 62.4 isn’t bad and he has tossed 13 TD passes against 12 picks.
Robert Griffin III is also 26 years old and is signed to a two-year $15 million deal. He has played in 37 career games, has 40 TD passes against 23 interceptions and has completed 63.9% of his passes in the NFL. It’s well documented that RGIII was sought after by the Browns as a draft prospect. He came out of college with a tremendous skill set. We will soon find out how much he has left.
At 36 years of age, Josh McCown is the elder statesman of the Browns. He has played in 77 career games going into the 2016 season. It is clear that he will not be a part of the team when the Browns regain respect on the field. McCown does bring a lot of experience. If the Browns wish to have a mentor for any young quarterbacks on the team, he would fill that role. He also had nice numbers last season before he was unable to play due to injuries. Josh McCown is signed through the 2017 season with $8 million left on his contract.
Connor Shaw is 24 years old and is due to make $525,000 this season. His career in Cleveland has been characterized by injuries and waiting for a chance. We have only seen him in one game to this point. Shaw was a proven winner in college and put up great numbers there with 56 TD passes and only 16 picks.
Cody Kessler is the newest addition to the Browns QB room. He is only 22 and holds the USC career completion percentage record at 67.5%. He had 88 TD passes against only 19 interceptions. He was Hue Jackson’s choice out of all of the quarterbacks in the recent draft due primarily to his accuracy.
The reality is that the Browns will carry two or three of these players on their active roster. It’s possible that one player may find his way onto the Browns practice squad. The Browns have indicated that everyone will be in competition to start.
One has to believe that RGIII is a lock for a roster spot and will most likely be the starter. The Browns signed him to play. He will either hold down the job while the Browns find a franchise QB or will become that franchise QB if he is able to recapture the success of his rookie season.
We all know what we have in Josh McCown. He is a capable starter who brings good leadership skills to his team. He has the ability to make tough throws but sometimes makes bad decisions. The Browns probably already have a good idea as to whether Josh will be on the team in 2016. However, it may be predicated upon what they see from some of the other quarterbacks. He would be an asset as the Browns develop young talent.
Cody Kessler was drafted in the third round to potentially be the Browns starter one day. He reportedly was shooting up draft boards as the draft drew close. He will almost assuredly be a part of the Browns rebuilding process and will be given every chance to develop and play. Only time will tell whether we have the next Joe Montana or the next Charlie Frye in Cleveland.
Connor Shaw seems to be a player who is similar to Kessler. He is an accurate QB with less than dazzling arm strength and an impressive college resume. He has a team-friendly contract as well. He will have to show his worth to retain a spot on the roster.
Austin Davis seems to be the odd man out in Cleveland. Unless he performs extremely well in camp and during the preseason, he will likely be looking for a job elsewhere.
The Browns will have some tough decisions to make when it comes time to trim down their roster. They essentially have three quarterbacks battling for the third spot on the roster. Let’s hope that this competition and the new staff brings out the best in these men.