Report: Cleveland Browns working on contingency plans at No. 2

Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stage before the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stage before the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly working on all their options in regards to the No. 2 selection in the 2016 NFL Draft.

With the 2016 NFL Draft just a little more than a week away, the Cleveland Browns are reportedly hard at work putting in some contingency plans in regards to the second overall selection.

According to Jeff Darlington at the NFL Network, executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown is working the phones to find out who, if anyone, might be interested in swinging a deal with the Browns.

“I spoke to at least one general manager in the top 10 who has received a call from Sashi Brown about trying to gauge interest on moving into that second-overall pick,” Darlington said, according to, adding that the Browns are “actively shopping” the selection.

Darlington went on to say that the Philadelphia Eagles may be the frontrunners in any potential deal, but that both the Browns and the Eagles “will be very patient about this situation”  and that there is not a “sense that anything is imminent.”

We’ve seen some speculation that the Browns reported interest in moving out of the second slot is an indication that they simply don’t want to draft a quarterback. But it seems more likely that they are laying the foundation for a potential trade in case the Los Angeles Rams, who are selection at No. 1 overall, take the quarterback that the Browns truly covet.

The Rams are rumored to be sold on Cal quarterback Jared Goff, which if it happens leaves the Browns the following scenarios:

  • They can sit tight and select North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz, which could be the plan all along.
  • If they don’t want Wentz, or if the Rams select Wentz and the Browns have no interest in Goff, they can sit tight and select a potential impact player for a defense that is sorely lacking in that area.
  • They can pull the trigger on a pre-arranged trade with the Eagles, or another team, that does want one of the quarterbacks and, in the process, the Browns can add some extra assets to use if they want to move around later in the draft. And they can probably still get a valuable player for the defense in the first round.

There is also the possibility, although it seems pretty remote, that the Browns have never had any interest in drafting a quarterback and have been looking for a trade partner all along, a view expressed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

"“Even before this trade was made, I [understood] that Cleveland was not going quarterback. And that was my firm and distinct impression and intel. Now if that is accurate then this trade is a good thing for Cleveland. Now Cleveland’s sitting in this second hole. And if any other team wants a quarterback — and there are teams that want the quarterback — they have to come to Cleveland. And Cleveland gets to name the price. So to me, I think the trade added to Cleveland’s leverage. Because I don’t think Cleveland intended to take a quarterback at the two hole."

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Got all that?

If the Browns are at all concerned that the quarterback they truly want won’t be there when they go on the clock in the first round, it is imperative that they have a backup plan (or plans) in place. The worst thing they can do is go into the night unprepared for that scenario and then be forced to quickly have to make a deal with the clock ticking down.

That’s how you end up bungling the opening round of the draft, the way Bill Belichick did in 1995 when he went into full panic mode and traded from No. 10 down to the bottom of the first round and selected Craig Powell after the New York Jets beat him to Kyle Brady.

With this draft being the first one for the new regime, a similar misstep in the first round is something they need to avoid at all costs.