What will the Browns do with Colt McCoy?

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
9:20
AM ET
Browns coach Pat Shurmur played coy with reporters when asked repeatedly about what he plans to do at backup quarterback.

"I do know what I want to do," Shurmur said after Thursday night's 28-20 loss to the Bears in the preseason finale. "I'm just not telling you, right? And I'm allowed."

There's always drama surrounding the Browns, but for once this offseason, it doesn't involve an injury or a suspension from the NFL. While you can't draw anything from Shurmur's comments, it doesn't take being a member of the Browns' front office to realize that McCoy failed to help himself Thursday night. A strong preseason ended with three dismal drives, two completions and one interception.

Despite that ragged last impression of the preseason, it's in the Browns' best interest to keep McCoy as the backup. He's seven years younger and has more upside than Seneca Wallace. He has just as much starting experience as Wallace (both have 21 starts in the NFL). And McCoy is much cheaper than Wallace (almost $1.9 million cheaper this season).

Some suggest the Browns shouldn't keep McCoy because he's a fan favorite and would serve as a distraction to rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. This doesn't make sense to me even though the Browns have had a poor history with this type of situation in the past (see: Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn). If the Browns are concerned about how keeping McCoy would affect Weeden, they should have never used the 22nd overall pick on him four months ago.

The Browns invested the 2011 season into McCoy, and if they could get a draft pick out of that investment, that's a different story. The Green Bay Packers have been linked to McCoy, but they may not be looking for a backup after Graham Harrell completed 13 of 15 passes for 223 yards with two touchdowns Thursday night.

It's assumed that the Browns will part ways with either McCoy or Wallace. Thad Lewis is expected to stay as the developmental third quarterback. But there's speculation the Browns could keep McCoy and Wallace. “I think we end up keeping them both,” one team leader told ESPN Radio in Cleveland after the game. “I mean, why wouldn’t we?”

Let's hope the long offseason mystery surrounding McCoy's future gets cleared up by 9 p.m. Friday, when teams have to get their rosters down to 53 players. But wait, according to the The Plain Dealer, the Browns might not announce their cuts until midnight. Nothing like dragging this out a few hours longer.

“I’m going to evaluate everything, and we’ll find out [Friday]," Shurmur said. "I know you’re all trying to predict. I get that. But we’ll figure it out [Friday].”

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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