When Jay Cutler agreed to a seven-year deal to stay with the Bears, it kept the best potential free agent quarterback off the market.
Say what you will about Cutler’s shortcomings, but pairing his arm and experience with a talented receiver (say ... Josh Gordon) would be enticing to any team. Especially a team that went through quarterbacks in 2013.
The Bears understood, and kept him. Now they have Cutler throwing to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and handing off to Matt Forte, which allows the Bears to concentrate on improving their defense.
If the Browns were interested in pursuing a free agent to truly come in and take over, Cutler was the most legitimate instant starter. Not that Cutler was ever leaving Chicago, or would have ever signed with the Browns.
But Cutler staying in Chicago means the best free agent will be Mike Vick, though the Browns could take comfort in the fact that Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson are also on the free agent list -- and Brandon Weeden could be. Nothing says football like a recycled Browns quarterback.
The free agent list is far from set. Guys will re-sign with their teams, a surprise or two will enter the market. But the present list is far from inspiring.
As of today the list of quarterbacks scheduled to be free agents in March are:
Carolina: Jimmy Clausen and Anderson -- Anderson brought up coming back a year ago right?
Detroit: Shaun Hill.
Green Bay: Matt Flynn and Wallace.
Indianapolis: Matt Hasselbeck
Jacksonville: Chad Henne. Hey ... he beat the Browns this season!
Minnesota: Josh Freeman and Matt Cassell. Cassell is an interesting name given Josh McDaniels, who will interview this weekend, once tried to trade for Cassell in Denver.
New Orleans: Luke McCown. Oops, forgot this former Brown.
San Diego: Charlie Whitehurst.
San Francisco: McCoy
Seattle: Tarvaris Jackson
St. Louis: Kellen Clemens and Quinn.
Tampa Bay: Dan Orlovsky, who once ran out of the back of the end zone as he escaped the rush, for a safety.
Tennessee: Rusty Smith.
Washington: Rex Grossman.
Two who could become available include Matt Schaub of Houston and Mark Sanchez of the Jets. The Texans have a new coach, and Schaub’s salary cap-cost is $14.5 million in 2014. As for Sanchez, the Browns traded the pick so the Jets could take him, why not make it full circle and bring him back.
Ah ... what would an NFL offseason be without an ongoing discussion of the Cleveland Browns quarterback.