The Browns would not seem to be Kirk Cousins' preferred option

It's on to the next guy after the Cleveland Browns took their shot at Alex Smith and missed this week.

The Browns did offer, at a minimum, one of their second-round picks to the Chiefs, but they weren't going to give Smith the four-year contract extension -- and $71 million in guaranteed money -- that Washington gave him.

Smith joins the Browns' list of quarterback misses from the past few years that includes Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo (in the draft and via trade), Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson and AJ McCarron.

Who's next?

The obvious choice is Kirk Cousins, who will hit the free agent market with Mr. Smith going to Washington. Cousins has great timing; his contract should average in the $30 million range annually and might go higher.

For that reason alone, the Browns might not be in the mix. They figure to be drafting a quarterback first or fourth overall, so giving Cousins that kind of money while drafting a quarterback high might be challenging.

It could be done. The argument in favor would be that having Cousins, DeShone Kizer and a young quarterback would be like trading for Smith but more expensive. The position would be strengthened.

The Browns could sign Cousins and go with running back Saquon Barkley and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in the draft. That was the favored plan of Joe Thomas when he was on ESPN last week, and it would strengthen three positions.

There are arguments to spend the money and sign Cousins. It's worth asking, though, if the Browns would go all-in for Cousins if they weren't willing to go all-in on Smith.

Cousins will be 30, which makes him four years younger than Smith, which might make an expensive longer-term deal more palatable.

The key question is whether Cousins would want to play with the Browns. Smith's reaction to that possibility on "The Dan Patrick Show" was telling; he made it pretty clear Cleveland was not on his short list.

Cousins also said this week that winning means more to him than money, and there is not much chatter, thinking or expectation that he would want to join the Browns. The Browns have draft picks and cap room, but their situation is not that appealing to a quarterback who wants to win right away. Sometimes money overcomes reluctance, but the one thing that has been consistent from Cousins is the expectation he would look for a stable situation -- not a team that went 1-31 the past two seasons and is in a constant state of flux.

It's best to be realistic. Cousins, as many have pointed out, is in the rare situation of being able to choose his team and his price in the prime of his career. It rarely happens, and he will choose the place, team and situation that works best for him. Teams like Denver, Minnesota and the New York Jets come to mind.

At this point in the Browns' evolution, it's tough to see this team and this situation being Cousins' ideal.

Which would have the Browns going to the next option.