Last month, shortly after the Browns hired Mike Lombardi as the new vice president player personnel, he told the media that "it's going to take some time to study" quarterback Brandon Weeden, the 29-year-old, 2012 first-round pick who started 15 games for Cleveland as a rookie.
Left unsaid, for the time being anyway: Weeden may be one-and-done under the Browns' new management; owner Jimmy Haslam, who took over last August, brought in former Eagles president Joe Banner, who in turn was responsible for adding Lombardi to the front office. One of the first questions Haslam asked then-president Mike Holmgren after becoming owner: "Can Brandon Weeden play?"
Apparently, those making the personnel decisions remain unconvinced. Now, according to a NationalFootballPost.com report, neither Lombardi nor Banner "... thinks much of Weeden, and they could try to deal him when they can get something for him."
This isn't surprising given Lombardi's assessment of the Weeden pick last spring when he was still working for NFL Network, calling the move "panicked disaster" by the Browns. (Though Lombardi said last month that he didn't remember the remark, which is either a commentary on his memory, or that media say a lot of things, not all of which they believe. Either way, it doesn't look great.)
Lombardi is an avowed Ryan Mallett fan, but the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot wrote recently that the organization isn't expected to pursue the Patriots backup. Which means that the Browns could go after Alex Smith or Matt Flynn, or try to unearth their next franchise quarterback in a decidedly weak quarterback draft class.
Ironically, ESPN draft hairdo Mel Kiper said recently that had Weeden come out of college this year he might be the top passer selected.
"With his age and a good situation at Oklahoma State with the receivers and the system that was in place there," Kiper said on a Wednesday conference call, "if you put him in this draft, from where he was last year to this year and where the quarterbacks are this season -- there's not one that everybody is a consensus on -- it's possible he could've been the first quarterback taken this year."
It's all relative, of course, and if the Browns decide to go in another direction it will be because they think that Option B -- whatever that may be -- is better than the status quo.
But this is a quarterback-driven league and Weeden shoudn't have trouble finding work. Yes, he struggled the most among those rookie passers who saw extensive action in 2012, but he also played in Cleveland. The list of quarterbacks who have stumbled their way through a Browns' season is long and varied.
Cleveland holds the No. 6 pick in the draft and NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have the team selecting Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, respectively. Rang and Brugler also have quarterback Geno Smith going first-overall to the Chiefs, with Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon and Tyler Wilson going in the top 10.