|Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett showed signs of development in his second season. (US Presswire)|
When the Cleveland Browns hired Michael Lombardi as the team's director of pro personnel last month, speculation intensified that the team could pursue Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett to replace starter Brandon Weeden.
Lombardi has a close relationship with Bill Belichick after serving in a similar capacity with the Browns in the early 1990s when Belichick received the first head coaching gig of his career. Although the acquisition of Mallett could be beneficial for both the Browns and the reserve quarterback, it is unlikely to happen according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
Mallett showed signs of development in his second season when he beat out veteran Brian Hoyer for the Patriots' backup in training camp. At 6-6, 245 pounds, Mallett displayed rocket arm-strength in college at the University of Arkansas and followed it up with a stellar preseason in his rookie season in 2011. In limited duty as a backup in 2012, Mallett completed 1 of 4 attempts in two regular-season games.
Mallett's tutelage under Tom Brady could pay dividends if he eventually becomes Brady's successor.
“They currently feature an offense based off the efficiency, accuracy and leadership of Brady, and are more of a stretch the field horizontal team,” an NFL scout told WEEI in Boston in September. “He (Mallett) can make them a vertical team.”
A four-year, $2.95 million contract Mallett signed in 2011 expires at the end of the 2014 season. Brady's current five-year, $78.5 million contract also expires once the 2014 season ends. If Brady returns to the Patriots for 2015, he will turn 38 that summer during training camp.
Weeden, meanwhile, said last week that he welcomes any competition in the offseason for his starting spot. The Browns could also puruse veterans Alex Smith or Matt Flynn. Smith played under offensive coordinator Norv Turner in 2006.
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