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Browns free-agency look ahead: Quarterbacks

By Ryan Lewis Published: March 7, 2013

#7 (tie) Matt Moore, MIA, Week 9


Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Brandon Weeden would have competition for his starting spot, and Weeden said last week he'd be open to it.


But the two biggest prizes (really, the only prizes) this offseason at the quarterback position are already off the table. Joe Flacco never really had much of a chance to leave the Baltimore Ravens and received a monster deal. And Alex Smith was traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the Kansas City Chiefs to run new head coach Andy Reid's West Coast offense.


This free-agent quarterback class is not superb with a career backup and a former starter who's been cast off by two teams as the clear leaders. Still, some options exist, including a trade for Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, 30, who has now been pushed into a backup role.


1. Matt Moore, 28, Miami Dolphins -- Moore has never been able to get his career off the ground but has had two stretches in which he displayed the potential to be a legitimate starting NFL quarterback. In 2011, he took over for the Dolphins, throwing for 2,497 yards, 16 touchdowns, nine interceptions and won six of the last nine games he started. Still, his value is said to be in his mentoring abilities and support of younger quarterbacks more than his on-the-field talent. Moore spent last season mentoring Ryan Tannehill, who had a successful rookie season, and it's been reported Tannehill wants Moore back in Miami. He's also actually younger than Weeden.


2. Jason Campbell, 31, Chicago Bears -- The former quarterback of the Washington Redskins and then the Oakland Raiders, Campbell has bounced around some recently. His time in Oakland was his second chance, but the trade that brought in Carson Palmer was the end for Campbell there. In Chicago, he came in for an injured Jay Cutler but wasn't able to do much. He has a career passer rating of 82.5, certainly respectable, but hasn't been able to take the next step some thought he could.


3. David Garrard, 35, Dolphins -- Garrard has the best track record of the top three options here, but how much is left after multiple injuries have eroded his career? Garrard had a 90.8 passer rating in 2010, his last starting job, but hasn't gotten the chance with Miami he had hoped. Injuries sidelined him for a season and then the Dolphins spent their first-round pick last year on Tannehill and handed him the keys to the offense.


Note: Cassel is under contract with the Chiefs, but now that Smith will be the team's clear starter, he could be available in a trade. Once the hyped backup to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after he stepped in for the nearly the entire 2008 season, Cassel was traded to the Chiefs and was terrific in 2010. However, he hasn't lived up to his billing in the two seasons since. He certainly has the highest ceiling of the available quarterbacks. He’d also have the highest price tag in a trade.


Others: Chase Daniel, New Orleans Saints; Derek Anderson, Carolina Panthers; Brian Hoyer, Arizona Cardinals; Drew Stanton, Indianapolis Colts; Brady Quinn, Chiefs; and Rex Grossman, Washington Redskins.

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