Editor’s note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
-- Paul, Lake Milton, Ohio
Hey Paul: My strong hunch is that if Garoppolo is not made available -- or, heaven forbid, the Browns show little interest in pursuing him -- Plan B would be to pursue Taylor as a two-year bridge quarterback, and then a developmental prospect would be drafted from the second tier of quarterbacks. These would include but not be limited to Mahomes, Kaaya, Davis Webb and Nathan Peterman. Under this speculated scenario, the Browns would use their first two draft picks on the best player available (probably on defense) and then consider quarterbacks after that. The drafted quarterback, then, would not be a candidate to start and would fall in line behind Taylor and Cody Kessler. My hope is that this is not actually Plan A, rather than Plan B.
Hey Tony: Is it possible for the Browns to trade No. 12 and a late-round pick for No. 32 and Jimmy G? Or is that a pipe dream?
-- Matt, Fairport Harbor, Ohio
Hey Matt: Mock trades get me dizzy. My guess would be pipe dream. Bill Belichick rarely moves up in the first round. Generally, he’s looking to move down.
Hey Tony: Please compare and contrast Tyrod Taylor vs. current quarterbacks we have and the expected price to get him.
-- Craig, Sylvania, Ohio
Hey Craig: Taylor was a sixth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens out of Virginia Tech in 2011. The Ravens were trolling for a developmental backup behind Joe Flacco, who was an iron man who rarely missed a snap through his first three years. At the combine, Taylor measured 6-foot-1 and weighed 217 pounds. After playing out his rookie contract as a Ravens backup, he got his break in 2015 when Bills coach Rex Ryan signed him to a modest three-year contract in free agency and then Taylor beat out E.J. Manuel and Matt Cassel for the starting job. He started 29 games in two seasons (15-14), with a TD-to-INT ratio of 37-to-12 and passer rating of 94.2. He averaged seven runs from scrimmage per game. So he is similar to Robert Griffin in physical size and style of play. He missed two games in 2015 with a knee injury and then was held out by the Bills from the final game in 2016 in a management scheme to avoid paying a $27 million injury guarantee. Taylor had groin surgery after the season. The Bills hastily signed him to a five-year, $90 million deal in August of 2016. He would become a free agent if the Bills fail to exercise an option in March that would guarantee Taylor $30.7 million. If Taylor becomes a free agent, expect that guaranteed figure to be in the vicinity of what Taylor is looking for in the first two years of a new contract.
Hey Tony: What about Mike Glennon as an option. He's a big, tall, stand-in-the-pocket-type guy?
-- John, Atlanta, Georgia
Hey John: Glennon will be an unrestricted free agent. To me, he resembles Derek Anderson -- 6-foot-6 and 225, with an elongated delivery and slow afoot. I don’t think he is on the Browns’ radar.
-- Robbie, Wilmington, North Carolina
Hey Robbie: The snarky answer would be "Let’s hope so." Prior to the emergence of Trubisky, who started only one season for North Carolina, I asked Sashi Brown if the processes used to evaluate quarterbacks in 2016 need to be fixed or changed. He said no. Paul DePodesta was asked generally the same question at a later date and he said no. Hue Jackson was asked pretty much the same question even later and he said no. It’s hard not to conclude that the Browns think they did everything right in their evaluation of quarterbacks in 2016.
Hey Tony: In light of RG3 and [Colin] Kaepernick, shouldn't we wait to anoint a quarterback as being a success until they've played three years?
-- JW, Raleigh, North Carolina
Hey JW: I’m not sure I understand the question. I will say both quarterbacks took their teams to the playoffs early in their careers and then fizzled out. Each kind of rode the wave of the read-option before defenses caught up to it. When the hits piled up and each was forced to beat defenses from the pocket to preserve their health, neither could make the plays.
Hey Tony: Who will be the starters in the secondary, and could two rookies get drafted in the first two rounds at DB?
-- Marc, Billings, Montana
Hey Marc: I would predict the cornerback starters –- at least at the start of offseason program –- would be Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor. The safety spots are up for grabs. I could see one draft choice devoted to safety or cornerback early, but not two. Let’s see what free agency brings first.
Hey Tony: Of the potential outside free agents, can you predict one the Browns are likely to pursue?
-- Dave, Walton Hills, Ohio
Hey Tony: Who would you pick (and the score) in a game between the first-year expansion 1999 Browns and the long past expansion 2016 team, and why?
-- Ray, Stow, Ohio
Hey Ray: This is pretty hard to project. On paper, the one advantage the '99 team had was stability at quarterback. Tim Couch started 14 games in a row. Albeit a raw rookie, Couch was able to grow with the offensive unit. The '16 team had to start three quarterbacks over the first three games and never had the same quarterback start more than five games in a row. It also started three centers over the first four games and five overall. The offense never got in sync. On paper, the talent in '16 was better at just about every position on offense, except quarterback and center. There was most certainly better talent on the '16 defense –- yet it lost one more game than the '99 expansion team. I would pick this game, 20-17, in favor of the '99 team, the result of a special teams snafu committed by the '16 squad.