Thursday, March 11, 2010
Delhomme talking with Browns
ESPN.com news services
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns spent another day looking for a new quarterback by meeting with an older one and dangling their current one.
Free agent Jake Delhomme, released last week after seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers, visited Thursday with the perpetually rebuilding Browns, who have been busy this week trying to improve their unstable situation at QB.
The Browns confirmed the 35-year-old Delhomme spent time at the team's offices in Berea, Ohio. They also said free agent tight end Ben Watson and running back Justin Fargas met with coach Eric Mangini and front-office personnel.
The Browns have been actively shopping for a quarterback, a position they haven't been able to adequately fill since their NFL expansion return in 1999. Earlier this week, the team acquired backup Seneca Wallace in a trade from Seattle and released Derek Anderson, who took a swipe at Cleveland fans on his way out of town.
Cleveland has offered Brady Quinn to other teams, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Wednesday.
The club's interest in Delhomme seems to indicate a reluctance to hand the starting job back to Quinn, who has struggled as a pro. Quinn is just 3-9 in 12 career starts with Cleveland, but some of the former Notre Dame star's inconsistency can be attributed to the Browns' lack of talent, as well as coaching and front-office changes in recent years.
Agent Rick Smith would not comment on Delhomme's visit to Cleveland.
Quinn was rumored to be on the trading block last year, but the Browns didn't find a suitable deal and he began the 2009 season as their starter. He was replaced just 2½ games in by Anderson, who couldn't hold down the job and was eventually benched.
Browns president Mike Holmgren, who has spent his career developing quarterbacks, has yet to endorse Quinn, another sign the club may be trying to trade him.
Holmgren knows that finding a competent quarterback is essential to any team's success.
"It's a huge decision," Holmgren said at the scouting combine last month. "It's the most important decision on the football team and the great teams have that guy."
It's not known if the Browns have offered Delhomme a contract. If he's signed by the club, he could serve as a mentor for Quinn or possibly take over as starter while Cleveland grooms another QB. The Browns currently have 11 draft picks, and it's possible they could use a high one on a college prospect.
Delhomme went 58-40 in seven seasons as the Panthers' starter and led them to their only Super Bowl appearance. However, he threw 18 interceptions last season and was cut so the Panthers could trim payroll and promote Matt Moore to starter.
Delhomme was wildly popular in Carolina. He joined the Panthers as a free agent in 2003 and led them to the Super Bowl in his first season. He holds almost every team passing record, and after he was released last week, Delhomme broke down in tears as he said goodbye to Carolina fans.
Delhomme will reportedly visit with New Orleans on Friday. The Saints are looking for someone to back up Drew Brees.
Fargas was released last week by the Oakland Raiders, who said he failed a physical and cut him before they had to pay him a $1.7 million bonus.
Fargas was Oakland's second-leading rusher with 491 yards and three touchdowns last season. He had led the team in rushing the previous three seasons, gaining a career-best 1,009 yards in 2007. He has rushed for 3,369 yards in seven seasons.
The Browns released veteran Jamal Lewis last month and are looking for a back to complement Jerome Harrison.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.