As the NFL trade deadline looms, the Cleveland Browns find themselves at a crossroads regarding their quarterback situation, primarily centered around Deshaun Watson’s injury. The handling of this issue has attracted its share of criticism, both for the lack of transparency regarding the injury and the potential duration of his absence. This situation has naturally raised the question of whether the Browns should explore trading for another quarterback, but there are strong arguments against this move.
P.J. Walker as the Best Option:
Depending on the availability of quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins and Jacoby Brissett, P.J. Walker could emerge as the most suitable choice for the team. Adding a new player to the mix doesn’t guarantee improved performance over Walker. While Cousins and Brissett might be more accomplished quarterbacks, adapting to a new offense and building chemistry with receivers takes time. Cousins and Brissett have experience with Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, but the current offensive system differs from what they’ve previously played in. While Walker may not have been a game-changer, he has shown the ability to make challenging throws and complete passes in crucial moments.
The Burden of Teaching a New Quarterback:
Acquiring a new quarterback at this stage would necessitate investing time in teaching them the playbook and getting them up to speed with the intricacies of the offense. This is a task that the team would rather avoid, particularly as they head into Week 9 of the season. Furthermore, any new acquisition might only see limited action if Deshaun Watson makes a return. Disrupting the continuity of the offense, even with Walker at the helm, is a risk the team doesn’t want to take.
Preservation of Valuable Assets:
General Manager Andrew Berry is committed to conserving precious draft capital. He has a track record of finding value in the later rounds of the NFL Draft, and this approach will remain crucial in the future. Currently, the Browns have only two picks in the first 130 selections. Acquiring a worthwhile quarterback would likely entail parting with one of these picks. Additionally, the team has several high-priced players, and their contracts dictate that a significant portion of the money is due within the next 2-3 years. Although they are not financially constrained at the moment, their future financial flexibility will depend on their ability to accumulate draft picks. Acquiring a new quarterback would further strain their salary cap, making it unwise to trade away long-term assets for a short-term fix.