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Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Waiting for Kolb is best option for Browns

By Jamison Hensley

As a disclaimer, I can't classify any of the remaining Cleveland Browns' options at quarterback as the "best move" because there really isn't one after losing out on Robert Griffin III.

But, as free agency begins today at 4 p.m. ET, the best option is to wait and see if Kevin Kolb is released from the cap-strapped Arizona Cardinals. He's due a $7-million roster bonus on March 17, so there's no guarantee he will be available. The risk is not doing anything on the quarterback front for the first four days of free agency for someone who might not get let go. But Kolb represents the best value considering the alternatives.

The Browns shouldn't sign Matt Flynn to a $50-million contract based on two starts. They shouldn't reach for Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill in the top 10 of the draft. And they shouldn't put their hopes in a 28-year-old rookie like Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden.

Browns general manager Tom Heckert said it was doubtful the team would sign a big-name quarterback in free agency, but that was before Cleveland fell short in its bid for RG3 on Friday night. The fact that the Browns were pursuing a deal to move up and get RG3 proves team officials aren't sold on Colt McCoy as their quarterback in 2012.

Adding Kolb makes sense for the Browns, even though he doesn't provide the playmaking ability of RG3 or the same buzz as Flynn.

Unlike Flynn, the Browns have a familiarity with Kolb. Heckert and Browns coach Pat Shurmur were with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007 when they drafted Kolb.

And, unlike Flynn, Kolb's contract will be much more reasonable because his stock is down after a disappointing first season in Arizona. Injuries and ineffectiveness left him 2-6 in his eight full games as a starter. But Kolb showed flashes during his time with the Eagles.

At the very least, Kolb vs. McCoy would be a stronger quarterback competition than McCoy against a rookie.

It's hard to get a read on the Browns' level of interest in Kolb. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns weren't as interested in Kolb as most thought they were last year. Heckert addressed Kolb on Thursday with Cleveland reporters, saying, "I still think Kevin is going to be a good player. Time will tell on that. He hasn't really played a whole lot. Even last year he was hurt."

At this point, the Browns missed out on their first attempt for a quarterback when the Redskins outbid them for RG3. Now, it's time to see what the Browns' next move will be.