Should the Browns consider holding on to Colt McCoy?

August 27, 2012

Colt McCoy probably led the league in trade rumors this offseason, as he was made expendable when the Cleveland Browns drafted Brandon Weeden in the first round. Head coach Pat Shurmur named Weeden the starter almost right out of the gate, and everyone wondered where McCoy might end up.

And then a funny thing happened. Weeden struggled through the preseason, while McCoy caught fire. Through three games, Weeden is 24 of 49 for 297 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. McCoy is 18 of 24 for 234 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

It's a small sample size, of course, and Weeden's played against more first-team defenders. Still, aren't the numbers enough to wonder if maybe the Browns shouldn't keep McCoy around for a little while longer? Judging from comments that Shurmur made on Sunday, it sounds like he's leaning that way. Said Shurmur of McCoy, via Mary Kay Cabot at

"I think he's done an outstanding job here in training camp,'' said Shurmur. "I'm very pleased with where he's at. I gained an even greater appreciation of him, the way he's competed, the way he's handled the situation, let's just call it that."


"He's had a full year now --  a season and a full offseason to get to know our system better and I think it's showing up that way,'' said Shurmur. "so I've got a great deal of respect for what he's done.''

McCoy is still only 25 years old. He doesn't have Weeden's arm strength or physical tools, but he's outperformed him on the field. Through his first two years, maybe he hasn't been exactly what the Browns pictured when drafting him, but there's still plenty of time. Are the Browns, of all teams, in a position to toss aside a quarterback prospect just because they have another quarterback with a big arm?

Nothing against Weeden, mind you ‒ he's a rookie with the aforementioned big arm, and his head appears to be screwed on straight. But he's going to struggle, because that's what rookie quarterbacks do.

There are a number of scenarios in which the Browns would be well-served to keep McCoy around: Weeden's struggles get really bad, Weeden gets injured, Weeden doesn't pan out, or McCoy keeps developing to the point where the Browns are forced to put him in the lineup.

Meanwhile, there's only one scenario where the Browns are better off without McCoy, and that's 28-year-old rookie Brandon Weeden playing good, consistent football immediately and staying healthy. It's possible, but would you bet on it? Keeping McCoy around might be worth more to them than the late-round pick they'd get in exchange for him.