The Mystery Behind Center

With the release of Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown, the Browns have a wide open array of options at quarterback. There are literally seven different possibilities at quarterback right now, and one of them will likely be THE possibility. As of right now, the Browns have Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler, and Kevin Hogan at quarterback. Could any of these three men be ‘the guy’ coming into the 2017 season? Of course! Even Osweiler, who is reportedly being shopped along with a fifth round pick for a third round pick. Moneyball at it’s finest.

If the Browns can’t get anything out of Osweiler, will they release him? I wouldn’t do it. Look, as of right now, the Bears (Glennon), Saints (Brees), Cardinals (Palmer), 49ers (Hoyer), Jets (Fitzpatrick, perhaps Cutler), Bills (Taylor), Jaguars (Bortles), Chiefs (Smith), and Broncos (Siemien, Lynch), may all be in need of a quarterback. I know I have a few teams on this list you may glance at and think I’m beyond my sanity. However, in the case of the Saints, Cardinals, and Chiefs, we have three aging quarterbacks. You can also throw the Chargers in there as well. Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor have shown flashes of both brilliance and bust, and neither have solidified their status just yet. The Bears signed Mike Glennon to franchise quarterback money, but he may be the 2017 version of 2016 Osweiler. The 49ers and Jets both have serious issues at quarterback. And lastly, is it possible the Broncos may rekindle with Brock Osweiler? Hey, they tried to resign him before he bolted to Houston for a year. I can see John Elway doing that. I mean, he trusted Osweiler in 2015 enough to keep him in as the starter in favor of Peyton Manning for a longer time than many would have anticipated.

What I’m saying is that any given time during the NFL season before the trade deadline, someone is going to inquire about Brock Osweiler. So many label the guy a free agent bust, and rightfully so, but he still went 8-6 as the starter last season. In other words, he can win you games. He won in Denver, and he won in Houston. So why is he a bust? He didn’t live up to his massive contract, but he can win, especially if the team has a strong running game and defense. Houston had a strong running game and defense. Oh, and he won a playoff game. The guy isn’t that bad, especially when said player was playing against a defense that contained Khalil Mack, one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

Is it possible Osweiler opens the 2017 season as the Browns starter? Honestly, he wouldn’t be any more of a trainwreck than Robert Griffin III was in 2016. Would he produce? The Browns have two good running backs in Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. They also have a fair fullback in Dan Vitale at the moment. Sure, Terrelle Pryor bolted for Washington, which probably won’t work out for him, but Kenny Britt is a good consolation for Pryor. Look at the numbers of both receivers and look at the quarterbacks who were throwing to them. I’m not saying I like Osweiler, because I’m not his biggest fan, but I am saying that if built around, as he was in Denver, he may very well be a fair quarterback in the mold of Alex Smith. Brock Osweiler is going to be on an NFL roster in 2017.

Cody Kessler is reportedly going to be given an opportunity to start in 2017. Kessler started eight games in 2016, winning none of them. However, he was knocked out of three of those games playing behind a terrible patchwork offensive line that lacked their starting guards, a right tackle who was playing center, and a never ending cycle of horrendous right tackles. If the 2017 season started tomorrow, the opening day starters on Cleveland’s offensive line would look like this: Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, JC Tretter, Kevin Zeitler, Cam Erving. Note one of the better guards in the league, John Greco, is also on the roster but may or may not be ready for week one. Behind this line, Cody Kessler isn’t pulling off his best impression of Tim Couch. In fact, he’ll probably look more like Brian Sipe. Give Kessler a good offensive line that may now be one of the best in the AFC, he’s going to produce well. He produced well in 2016 when healthy. He was really 0-5, after being knocked out of three of the games he started. He also should’ve beaten Miami, since kicker Cody Parkey missed the potential game winning field goal in week three. At worst, Kessler opens as the primary back-up. His job in Cleveland is safe.

One of my favorite quarterbacks in college football two years ago was a kid named Kevin Hogan, who I probably would’ve drafted in favor of Kessler. I’ll give it to the Cleveland front office, they got it right when they drafted Kessler, as Hogan looked overmatched in game action. Does he open the season as the starter? Only if he has a terrific training camp, if he makes it that far.

Jimmy Garoppolo is reportedly not being traded. I don’t believe Bill Belichick for a single second, and neither should you. Why would he want to trade the guy at this point? Say you won’t trade him now and see what you can get for him. If the price isn’t high enough, keep him for later. Belichick is throwing a smokescreen, of course he’s going to shop Garoppolo! Look, if anyone has any common sense these days, especially in an NFL front office, you throw smokescreens in order to increase the cost for a player of interest. Cleveland isn’t the only team looking for Garoppolo’s services. Minus the Jets and Bills, being divisional rivals, every single team I listed would be interested in Garoppolo. Include the Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Washington Redskins (can someone say blockbuster three team trade involving Garoppolo and Kirk Cousins?) in this discussion. Pittsburgh? Really? What if Ben goes down or retires after the season? Who succeeds him? Landry Jones? Bill Belichick is exploring his options while at the same time, increasing the price for Garoppolo. If you’re naive enough to believe the media, go right ahead. If you’re sharp enough to think outside the box, welcome to the one-percent. Does Garoppolo come to Cleveland? You bet he does. The Browns didn’t ‘buy’ a second round pick for nothing while leaving Osweiler expendable. Don’t believe for a single second that Jimmy Garoppolo is off the market.

DeShaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, and DeShone Kizer are all possibilities to be drafted at number one or number twelve. The consensus is Cleveland takes edge rusher Myles Garrett at number one, and I believe they will. Yet, if they’re throwing the smokescreen, does a rookie start week one? Don’t count on it, since none of these guys are going to start week one and succeed. Who do I like best out of this bunch? Trubisky. I believe he’d be the number one pick in this draft had he started more college football games. Watson and Trubisky are going to be good, but don’t expect either one of them to be the second coming of Dak Prescott, or even Andrew Luck for that matter. Not going to happen. However, maybe they take one at number twelve if they can’t get Garoppolo. Newsflash, they’re going to sell the farm for Jimmy Garoppolo. New England just traded their first round pick for Brandin Cooks. They love to trade more than any other team. Hashtag foreshadow.

What do I think will happen? It’ll be Garoppolo. The guy is simply too good to ride the bench behind Tom Brady. New England is holding out for the ideal trade. Don’t believe for a second they’re going to keep Garoppolo sitting behind Tom Brady for a fourth consecutive season. Bill Belichick loves to wheel and deal with the best of them, and he’ll continue to do that. No one does it better than Belichick. Sorry, Pittsburgh fans, but as long as Belichick is in New England, the Patriots rule the AFC. Sorry Baltimore fans, sorry Houston fans, sorry Kansas City fans, your time won’t come until both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have hung it up for good. And sorry Cleveland fans, we may get Garoppolo, but we’re going to get stripped of every little piece of talent Bill Belichick can suck out of us. It’s going to happen. The trade is going to happen, and we’re going to give up a lot for a talented, yet unproven back-up quarterback. That’s just the way Bill Belichick works. Once again, the New England Patriots rule the AFC. It’s just an inconvenient truth.

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