The Cleveland Browns do not a franchise quarterback on the roster. Is Detroit Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford the player to fill that void?
Multiple quarterbacks have started for the Cleveland Browns since they returned in 1999. For many reasons there has not been one who was able to maintain the starting job. It is unclear as to what, if anything will happen with the team’s front office after this season.
Despite that uncertainty, the QB position needs to be filled and Cleveland should look into acquiring Detroit Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford for the starting position.
After changes with the Lions’ front office, Stafford does not appear to be the team’s starter next season. Any team without a starter for next season and/or has questions at the position should look into acquiring the former No.1 pick.
A Stafford trade would not happen until after the season, at which time the Browns may be positioned for a top three pick.
A top three pick could lead to a top QB drafted again but given how Cleveland has not drafted well with that position, acquiring a veteran again would be smarter. Due to the expected little amount of impact QBs early on in the draft, acquiring a player such as Stafford would provide less risk.
Stafford’s contract expires after the 2017 season.
Stafford has been to the playoffs twice. Halfway through his seventh NFL season, he has thrown for 23,797 yards, 144 touchdowns, and 96 interceptions, with a career QB rating of 83.7.
If the Browns get a chance to acquire Stafford, why wouldn’t they? It is unclear what trade interest he would receive, so stating Cleveland should send a first round pick for Stafford today would be premature.
One thing is clear and that is Stafford is much better than anyone on the team’s roster. Plus he is nine years younger than starting QB Josh McCown.
Since McCown is 36 years old and is not going to be playing much longer and Browns backup QB Johnny Manziel is better served as a backup, this opportunity (should it present itself) is something Cleveland cannot take for granted.
He is not a top five QB and he never will be. His inconsistency at times, combined with his inability to take Detroit to the next level (getting to the playoffs and securing a playoff spot yearly) has drawn criticism. Yet, here are two key reasons why he has struggled.
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Stafford has not played behind the greatest of offensive lines and an inconsistent running game has limited the offenses he has played in since being drafted. Detroit is averaging 69.6 rushing yards per game this season, which is the worst in the NFL.
When the Browns’ offensive line starts playing up to their level they are capable as a whole, adding in RB Duke Johnson and TE Gary Barnidge, their offense is something a good QB can work with. Look at how McCown is running the offense now.
As a starting QB for Cleveland, Stafford would be playing with a much better offensive line than he has.
Cleveland will continue need to continue to build, but with an established QB in place then everyone’s job is much easier.