Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Browns put heat on Weeden with Campbell
By Jamison Hensley
So, 53 days after owner Jimmy Haslam announced there would be a battle for the starting quarterback job, the Cleveland Browns finally brought in the competition for Brandon Weeden.
Jason Campbell was signed to a two-year contract Tuesday night, the team announced. This is a good fit for the Browns because offensive coordinator Norv Turner wants to stretch the field and Campbell has a big arm, the best in a weak free-agent class.
Campbell, who was considered one of the top three quarterbacks available when free agency began, is a legitimate threat to Weeden because of his experience and ability to read defenses. Unlike last season, when no one really bought into Colt McCoy overtaking Weeden, the battle between Weeden and Campbell isn't for show.
The new regime of chief executive officer Joe Banner and coach Rob Chudzinski didn't draft Weeden, so it should be a more level playing field. Even if Campbell doesn't win the job, he'll push Weeden to play better. The signing of Campbell likely ends McCoy's Browns career.
This marks Campbell's fourth team in five years. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins, where he went 20-32 as a starter, and had success with the Oakland Raiders in 2011 before suffering a broken collarbone on a tackle by Browns linebackers Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong. In his only start last season for the Chicago Bears, Campbell struggled against the San Francisco 49ers, throwing for 107 yards and two interceptions.
“Jason is an established leader who has started a number of games in this league and has had success,” Chudzinski said in a statement. “He brings us a veteran presence and a good set of physical tools. He played in a similar system when he was in Oakland and that will help in his transition.”
Campbell, 31, is entering his ninth NFL season and is only two years older than Weeden. If Campbell beats out Weeden, he would become the 19th starting quarterback for the Browns since they returned to the NFL in 1999.