Stop us if you have heard this one before: Browns quarterback Brady Quinn is rumored to be a trade chip, going to Denver for wide receiver Brandon Marshall. This weekend, The Denver Post threw the Cleveland Browns as a possible destination for the disgruntled receiver and managed to add Brady Quinn’s name into the mix. And as fans know, it only takes one bout of speculation for the Internet tires to start spinning…
One year ago, we discussed Quinn trade rumors. He (and teammate Braylon Edwards) spawned our creation of the “alert” system. But in the end, Quinn stayed put with Eric Mangini opting to turn down any offers which he was presented. The man donning the No. 10 jersey started the bulk of the Browns games but managed to finish strong thanks to a solid running attack down the home stretch. Denver’s Marshall accompanied Quinn in the trade rumors folder. He too stayed with his team, but went on to have another amazing year (101 receptions, 1120 yards, 10 TDs) and capped it off in Miami this weekend for his second Pro Bowl bid.
Fast forward to today where Browns president Mike Holmgren has stated that he will choose a quarterback prior to training camp, and that man will be the starting quarterback for the 2010 season – no debates, no controversy. Quinn, on the other hand, is by no means a lock for that spot. Derek Anderson, the current back-up quarterback, is due a large roster bonus and will likely not be with the team. And the third piece of this puzzle is Marshall, who The Denver Post believes will be traded shortly after the March 5th open of NFL free agency.
Not long ago, ESPN’s Mark Schlereth reported that Marshall’s name plate was removed from the Broncos locker room. Despite the solid season, Marshall was unhappy in Denver and has been a malcontent for the majority of his career. And with their current quarterback Kyle Orton a free agent, do the Broncos go another route to replace their former first-round draft choice Jay Cutler?
Quinn’s value is by no means any higher at this point than it was one season ago. In 10 games under center, he completed 53 percent of his passes for 1339 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. The argument can be made that he did such with arguably the worst receiving corps in the NFL. Marshall, a high-possession receiver, would be an instant upgrade for the Browns who could be implementing more short, slant-type routes that focus on high conversion rates to spread out the defense.
Couple all of the above and we have the current speculation that the Browns would attempt to rekindle the flame that Mangini blew out last spring. The team is suspected to go with a defensive selection or quarterback in the first round, leaving the second round on to address the offensive weapons. Given that most collegiate receivers take an average of three seasons to fully acclimate themselves to the NFL game, the team could be looking at a long-term plan at the wide receiver slot if they choose to address it via the draft. If Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert would like to improve the receiving options instantly, they would have to do so via free agency.
As was the issue with these rumors last season, Marshall’s nickname of “Baby TO” is not far off from the truth. Albeit a younger version, Marshall appears to have a bit of a nasty side to his game. His criminal record is well documented and he simply hasn’t been happy in Denver for years. While he is saying all of the right things right now, there is little doubt that he would welcome a new environment in which to work. But is Cleveland that fit?
Eric Mangini has an ideal player type and it would not be far-fetched to say that Marshall is not that type. Marshall showed up to Denver camp after a holdout and then claimed that he did not know more than a fraction of the playbook. He would later be suspended for punting footballs at practice and intentionally disrupting drills. The last distraction-filled, me-first wide receiver was shipped to New York where he caught an 80-yard touchdown pass in the AFC championship game, but went on to criticize play-calling. On the flip side of the coin, this Browns team desperately needs weapons sooner than later, has a slew of draft picks to add in to any deal and Eric Mangini is no longer the sole decision-maker when it comes to Pro Personnel.
Keep in mind, many are linking Marshall to the Browns solely because they were the only team that included a specific player that would be returning to Denver. Other teams that have been linked to Marshall include the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, and Seattle Seahawks.
(Image courtesy of the Associated Press)