The regular season hasn’t been over for more than a week, but the offseason rumor mill is already in full swing for the Cleveland Browns, and the latest is a big one.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Browns could potentially pursue Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, through either a trade or free agency, should he be released.
It’s an intriguing notion, but not one that Browns fans should get excited about. You could look at the fact that he is 35 years old and missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing two neck surgeries. You should also consider that obtaining him won’t come cheap. To put it in perspective, he is currently owed a $28 million roster bonus in March. While that would change if he was released, he would still command a hefty price in the free agency market.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Browns to look for other options at quarterback, but Manning isn’t the answer. Sure, they have plenty of money to spend this offseason, but it could be put to considerably better use than signing an aging quarterback to a team that isn’t ready to make a playoff run.
It would also be bad on an astronomical level for the Browns to make a trade for Manning. Considering what he’s worth, the Browns would be looking at giving up some high-quality draft picks when they aren’t really in a position to part with any in the first place.
This is simply one of those scenarios where everyone needs to find a way to separate themselves from their love for Manning and consider his and the Browns’ current situations.
It’s likely that the Browns will be connected to a wide variety of quarterbacks this offseason, and it’s possible that they will make a move, but it won’t be a splash like Peyton Manning. It doesn’t even seem entirely likely that general manager Tom Heckert would draft a player like Robert Griffin III, either.
Browns fans can realistically expect to see the team sign or draft (in a later round) a quarterback who can come in and compete with Colt McCoy for the starting job. It won’t be someone flashy, but draft picks and free agent signings will be used to drastically improve this offense. By utilizing those resources in a more responsible way, it will make whomever the starting quarterback is that much better.