The rumor of the Cleveland Browns trading for New England Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett won't go away. Whether you're for or against this move, everyone can probably agree that it's getting to the point where the Browns need to make a decision on which quarterback to add this offseason.
As reporters try to connect the dots on how this deal could happen, one popular theory is Matt Cassel returning to be the backup for the Patriots, who then can trade Mallett to the Browns. But Cassel, who was released by the Chiefs on Thursday, could be going to the Vikings, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Another scenario has the Browns trading a defensive lineman for Mallett. Tony Grossi of ESPN Radio in Cleveland believes the free-agent signing of Desmond Bryant would allow the Browns to shop Phil Taylor or Ahtyba Rubin in a package deal for Mallett. It's true that Patriots coach Bill Belichick collects defensive linemen like many people hoard bobbleheads. And, while the Browns would prefer to unload Rubin and his $6 million salary this year, Taylor is the more valuable commodity.
Still, the Browns don't feel like they have to make a move involving their defensive line. Browns chief executive officer Joe Banner said they can use all six defensive linemen on the team.
"There’s no reason to think we have an abundance at this point," Banner said. "It’s a crucial area as we look at the team. We feel good about where we are at numbers-wise.”
If the Browns don't get Mallett, they have to find a quarterback somewhere. Owner Jimmy Haslam said there is going to be a quarterback competition this year, but the Browns have yet to bring in someone to compete against Brandon Weeden.
Alex Smith was traded to Kansas City. Matt Moore re-signed with Miami. And, to the delight of many Browns fans, Derek Anderson re-signed with the Panthers. So, what's left? Ryan Fitzpatrick was released by the Bills, and Jason Campbell is still out there in free agency. By the weekend, Kevin Kolb will be available because the Cardinals aren't going to pay his $2 million roster bonus on March 17.
If the Browns pass on all of them, the talk of a possible trade for Mallett will continue up until the draft.