Romo, McCarron and Taylor might be on Browns' radar in search for franchise QB

In January, the day after the Cleveland Browns put the finishing touches on one-win season, quarterback Robert Griffin III said that he wanted to stay in Cleveland, where he signed the previous offseason but because of injury, only started five games (the team went 1-4 in those starts), and he finished with two touchdowns, three interceptions and a 59.2 completion percentage.

And while RG3 might want another chance to prove his doubters wrong, Cleveland.com beat reporter Mary Kay Cabot thinks the Browns will release Griffin before March 11, when he’s due a $750,000 roster bonus, not to mention the $6 million salary for 2017. Put another way: The Browns are in the market for their next franchise quarterback.

The New England Patriots ’ Jimmy Garappolo has been a popular name and several weeks ago, the thinking was that the Browns would try to trade for Tom Brady’s backup, even though the expectation is that it would require at least a first-round pick. But with recent reports that New England might decide to hold onto Garoppolo (Brady has to retire at some point, right?), the Browns will have to look elsewhere for a quarterback.

Which brings us back to Cabot, who writes that Plan B for Cleveland could include the Buffalo Bills Tyrod Taylor , the Cincinnati Bengals AJ McCarron and the Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo . Taylor, who fell out of favor in Buffalo, now has an ally in Cleveland; the Browns hired quarterbacks coach David Lee, who worked with Taylor the last two seasons and likes the quarterback. But Taylor’s reported unwillingness to take a paycut (he signed a $90 million extension before the ‘16 season) may complicate matters for Cleveland.

There’s also the draft; the Browns have the No. 1 pick and they could take UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Not surprisingly, as often happens with high-profile players expected to go early in the draft, Trubisky has both advocates and skeptics.

“He’s as good as Carson Wentz , he’s got a big arm and he’s athletic,’’ an high-level NFL executive told Cabot. “He’s got a chance to be special, and I can’t find holes in him. He’s got a quick release, he’s accurate and he’s tough. He sees the entire field.”

Trubisky also couldn’t beat Marquise Williams for the starting job at UNC, which has raised concerns.

In case you’re wondering, both Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have the Browns taking Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett first overall in their latest CBSSports.com mock draft, though 11 picks later Rang has the Browns taking Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer , while Brugler likes Ohio State Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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