Browns top 20 QBs since 1999: Baker Mayfield, Joe Flacco among the best

38 QBs have started a game for the Cleveland Browns since 1999
Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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Tier Two: "Status Quo"

Whether they were hyped up as the supposed answer, brought in through free agency or trade to compete for a starting role, or caused a QB controversy; these QBs were trying to make the most out of a potential starting position. Unlike the "career cushioning" tier, these QBs were trying to prove they belonged among the 32 starting QBs in the NFL.

4. Jeff Garcia

Jeff Garcia signed a hefty contract with the Browns after five years in San Francisco. Of the five previous seasons, he made the Pro Bowl three times. It's safe to say that there was a fair amount of hype surrounding the player who was only two years removed from his latest Pro Bowl selection.

His level of play in Cleveland, while not terrible, didn't live up to his three-year, $25-million contract and he was released after just one season. It's also noteworthy that he made the Pro Bowl again three years later as a QB for the Tampa Bay Buccanneers. He finished with a 3-7 record while throwing for 1,371 yards, 10 TDs, and 9 INTs while netting an additional 169 yards and 2 TDs rushing.

3. Trent Dilfer

Trent Dilfer was already an 11-year Veteran when he was traded from Seattle to Cleveland. He had previously won a Super Bowl with the 2000 Baltimore Ravens but was considered more of a game manager and journeyman.

He's often listed as the prime example of how a team can win a championship with average to below-average QB play. He also often voiced his frustration in his duty to mentor Charlie Frye, the Browns Rookie QB who eventually replaced him. He played much more to his talent level as a member of the Browns accumulating a 4-7 record over starts and appearances. He threw for 2,321 yards, 11 TDs, and 12 INTs.

2. Jacoby Brissett

Jacoby Brissett was another former Browns QB that fans obsessed over a hopeful reunion in 2023. Any fourth and one was almost always a gimme for the Browns offense when Brissett was in the game.

Brissett was acquired to start at a minimum, the first 11 weeks of the 2022 season while Deshaun Watson served his suspension. Known best for his ability to take care of the football, Brissett played admirably throughout the season and finished with a 4-7 record over 11 starts. He played in each game during their third and/or fourth and short packages even when Watson returned. Brissett threw for 2,608 yards, 12 TDs, and 6 INTs. He added another 243 yards and 2 TDs rushing the ball.

1. Brian Hoyer

Sorry Johnny Manziel, no one cares that Brian Hoyer wasn't a great mentor to you.

Many Browns fans were furious that Hoyer was benched in favor of Manziel. Hoyer held a 10-6 record when the front office pressured head coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shannahan to "see" what Manziel could do.

Benching Hoyer, and the influence of the front office on coaching decisions in general, led Shannahan to create and present a PowerPoint presentation on why he should be released. The sad reality is knowing how successful Shannahan would become with the QBs he had in his arsenal, Hoyer was the perfect QB to play in his system.

It's no wonder they were so successful together, and Hoyer would be only one of four players to have a winning record in Cleveland. He threw for 3,941 yards in two seasons with 17 TDs and 16 INTs.

Kelly Holcomb ended the Tim Couch era after a memorable playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense which ranked number one in the league. The following season, the Browns had seen enough of Couch and held onto hope that Holcomb could replicate the play he had the year prior.

Jason Campbell was unable to justify his former first-round pick production while in Cleveland, Ty Detmer was pulled pretty quickly into Couch's rookie season because his play was poor, Robert Griffin III started five games in 2016 but landed himself on IR and rookie Cody Kessler replaced him; Kessler remained the starter.

Tyrod Taylor was never really given a fair chance. There was a lot of hype surrounding him because he was able to end another playoff drought; the Buffalo Bills. Unfortunately, Baker Mayfield played too well to justify benching him in favor of Taylor.