The persistent Matt Schaub-to-the-Browns rumors fell silent Friday.
The Oakland Raiders acquired the veteran quarterback, and his $10 million salary, from the Houston Texans for a sixth-round draft pick.
That’s welcome news for North Olmsted native Brian Hoyer, who will more than likely enter the season as the top veteran quarterback on the Browns’ depth chart. The starter for Week 1 will depend on the draft, training camp and preseason, but Hoyer has said repeatedly he plans to own the job.
The Browns weren’t willing to assume Schaub’s contract but were considered by some the favorite to sign him if the Texans couldn’t find a trade partner and decided to release him. The Raiders didn’t want to take that chance.
First-year Cleveland coach Mike Pettine has said upgrading the quarterback spot is a priority, and Schaub was among the best of the “available” veterans. He’s familiar with new Browns coordinator Kyle Shanahan after working with him for three years with the Texans. Schaub’s best statistical year came under Shanahan in 2009, when he led the NFL in yards passing (4,770), completions (396) and attempts (583), and threw 29 touchdowns with a 98.6 passer rating.
Schaub, 32, is 46-44 as a starter but is coming off a season in which he went 2-6, lost his starting job and threw 14 interceptions, including five pick-sixes. He would’ve been forced to take a pay cut with the Browns but would’ve been penciled in as the starter.
Instead, Hoyer remains the incumbent after going 3-0 as a starter last year before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The other quarterback on the roster is Alex Tanney, who’s never taken an NFL snap.
They’re expected to be joined by a veteran and a rookie. The veteran might be easier to predict.
Rex Grossman has been connected to the Browns since Shanahan was hired. They’ve spent the past five years together — one with Houston and the last four with Washington.
But Grossman would bring a different dynamic than Schaub would’ve. Grossman would be second or third on the depth chart, and part of his value would be the ability to help teach Shanahan’s system to the rest of the offense.
Grossman, 33, was the No. 22 pick of Chicago in 2003. He has a 25-22 record with a 55.2 completion percentage, 56 touchdowns, 60 interceptions and a 71.4 rating. He led the Bears to the Super Bowl in the 2006 season and they lost to the Colts.
Grossman has made 16 starts with Shanahan, but didn’t take a snap the last two years. He went 5-8 as the starter in 2011 with 16 touchdowns, 20 interceptions and a 72.4 rating.
He is the most obvious free agent to sign. Michael Vick was available, but signed with the Jets on Friday. Mark Sanchez, who was cut by New York after Vick signed, is free but has had his own struggles and missed last season with a shoulder injury.
The real unknown is which rookie or rookies will join the mix. The Browns have the
No. 4 pick, but may choose to wait to pick a passer.
First-year general manager Ray Farmer is keeping his intentions to himself, but the organization has given the impression lately it won’t take Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel or Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater — widely considered the top three quarterbacks in the draft.
Pettine, Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains didn’t attend the pro days of Bridgewater or Bortles this week. The Browns also didn’t interview any of them at the scouting combine.
The Browns are expected to hold private workouts for the top quarterbacks and may be trying to misdirect observers. But it seems just as probable they take a quarterback later in the draft, starting with the 26th pick.
Fresno State’s Derek Carr, Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Georgia’s Aaron Murray are candidates, and others could surface.
One name that will no longer be connected to the Browns is Schaub.
Love for the glove
Bridgewater is still trying to overcome the rough pro day Monday, when he struggled with his accuracy. Noticeably absent were the gloves he wore throughout his career at Louisville.
“I was training down in Florida. It was 80-degree weather, sunny outside, so I was letting the ball spin without the glove and I just felt confident going into the pro day,” he said on NFL Network. “I trust my training, I’m always confident in my training, so going into competition I trust preparation. So I went back to Louisville and the weather changed, it was a little cold outside, the ball gets a little rough and I still decided to go without the glove.”
He’s learned his lesson.
“From this day forward, I’m going to do what got me here, and that’s wearing a glove,” he said. “I was able to learn that from the pro day, that continue to do what you’re comfortable doing, continue to do what got you in this situation in the first place. I’ve been wearing gloves the past three years so I’ll get back into the glove business.”