Cleveland Browns: Stats say that Baker Mayfield improved all three years

Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

What about the learning curve for second and third-string?

Something else to think about is that the Browns have a backup quarterback in Case Keenum who is in his third year with Kevin Stefanski and second year with the Cleveland Browns. If he’s needed he can probably jump right in and be successful.

Remember, Stefanski was the quarterback coach in Minnesota when Keenum went 11-3 as the starter in 2017. How many NFL teams have a backup who recently went 11-3? If there is some franchise quarterback out there in Day 3 of the NFL draft, okay, but he is very unlikely to be better than Keenum until 2022. More than likely, the Day 3 quarterback is a longshot at best, and not Tom Brady 2.0.

Keenum is good to go for the next five years. Keenum is 33 years old (happy birthday, by the way, Case), and perhaps what the scouting community has against him is that he is not huge and not super elusive. He will last longer as a second-string quarterback rather than as a first stringer. But if he gets the call, he is deadly accurate, smart, tough, and will be very dangerous. It would be very foolish to attempt to replace Keenum in the near term.

This writer is also very high on former third-string Garrett Gilbert, who could be signed as a free agent, after spending half a year working in that insane cow palace in Arlington, Texas. He’s already familiar with the team and coaching staff. Gilbert is a bit of an antique but has very low mileage on the odometer.

He’s a rarity, a third-string quarterback who could step into the lineup and win games. The difference between an eight-year Pro who already knows the system versus some undrafted rookie is mind-boggling. It would be crazy for the Browns to not make Gilbert a solid offer this offseason. Hopefully, this season they will elect to carry three quarterbacks rather than only two.

The main reason for not carrying three quarterbacks is that the team was short at other positions by the time they reached the playoffs, notably offensive line, defensive line, and linebacker. On that basis, they may not feel that they can afford the roster spot even for a quarterback they believe in as a viable starter.

Next. 3 free agents who could change Browns draft plans. dark

Or there is the vague possibility that they will uncover Tom Brady 2.0 in training camp and go with a kid as the third-string quarterback. That would be a disappointment, however, as the numbers would suggest that a rookie would be unlikely to be able to help in year one. If the long-term potential is not actually there, it is not worth investing a  roster spot on a young quarterback.