While the Cleveland Browns are still expected to make a hard push in order to acquire quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots—more on that for another day—they know full well that that may prove to be an unrealistic option depending on New England’s reasonableness in their asking price, provided that they are willing to let him go at all.
What comes next remains a mystery, but Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com doesn’t expect it to be more of the same. In fact, she said that she expects the Browns to release Robert Griffin III, and within the next couple of weeks, because they would owe him a roster bonus come March 11.
Coincidentally, the Bills will also owe Tyrod Taylor a significant commitment on that day if he remains on their roster, as it would guarantee over $30 million in his contract. Given that they just turned over their coaching staff, it’s not clear at all that Buffalo intends to retain him.
Adding another layer to the puzzle is the fact that the Browns in recent weeks hired David Lee, who has been Taylor’s quarterbacks coach for the past two years with the Bills. Cabot believes that Lee is a big fan of Taylor “and would welcome continuing to work with him”.
Given the uncertainty up in Buffalo, it is certainly reasonable to wonder whether or not the former Ravens sixth-round draft pick will remain on the Bills’ roster come March 11. Given that he is not interested in taking a pay cut in order to make things work out with his current team, a parting of ways becomes all the more likely.
One thing that appears clear is that the Browns are a team who believes that they do not have their answer to the quarterback position on their roster right now, and that includes last year’s third-round pick, Cody Kessler, who was their primary starter during the 2016 season after multiple quarterback went down due to injury behind a shaky offensive line. Robert Griffin III was among those quarterbacks.
Garoppolo appears to be their primary target, but if they get a feeling early on that the Patriots will not be willing to budge or are asking a price too high for even them to afford, then it seems as though Taylor might be their secondary option as the starter for the 2017 season.
That would not preclude them from still drafting a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft and giving him an opportunity to develop. They do own both the first and the 12th picks, so they have the resources to draft any quarterback that they might fancy and provide him with an opportunity to be groomed.
But Cabot said that she feels Hue Jackson wants to go into this season with a veteran quarterback, and, should he become available, Taylor is an option that would require no draft picks to be given away, and they already have a coach who knows him well on their staff.