Browns CEO Joe Banner made it clear last week that quarterback Colt McCoy was on the trading block, and it didn’t take long for the new regime to send him packing.
The Browns traded McCoy and a sixth-round draft pick (No. 173 overall) to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for one selection in the fifth round (No. 164) and another in the seventh round (No. 227), league sources told the Beacon Journal on Monday. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the Browns did not disclose the picks involved in the deal when they announced McCoy’s departure.
McCoy reported to the Browns’ headquarters Monday morning for the first day of the team’s offseason conditioning program, a source said. News of the trade broke Monday evening when Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that McCoy would reunite with former Browns kicker Phil Dawson in San Francisco.
McCoy, 26, became expendable March 26, when the Browns signed veteran quarterback Jason Campbell to a two-year contract reportedly worth $3.75 million. Campbell, 31, is being relied on to push Brandon Weeden, 29, who is penciled in as the starter.
In terms of McCoy’s fate, the writing was on the wall. He is scheduled to make a base salary of $1.5 million next season.
“Our plan is to keep Colt,” Banner said Thursday during a radio interview with WKNR (850-AM). “That is not etched in stone if somebody was interested in trading for him. … We have certainly not decided he won’t be on the team or that he’ll be traded, but at the same time, I can’t honestly rule that out.”
It turns out the 49ers wanted someone to battle Scott Tolzien for the right to become Colin Kaepernick’s primary backup, and McCoy should fit his new team’s West Coast offense much better than the Browns’ scheme. McCoy doesn’t have the type of big arm best suited for the vertical, downfield passing attack coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner are installing in Cleveland.
The Browns wanted more selections in the draft, which runs April 25-27. After gaining one pick in the deal, they have the following seven: first round (No. 6 overall); third round (No. 68); fourth round (No. 104); fifth round (Nos. 139 and 164); sixth round (No. 175); and seventh round (No. 227). The sixth-round pick (No. 173) the Browns gave up was acquired last year from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for safety David Sims.
In Northeast Ohio, McCoy will be remembered for the way he got Browns fans to rally around him with his inspired play as a rookie and the devastating helmet-to-face-mask hit he took the following season from former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
McCoy started eight games as a rookie after the regime led by ex-Browns President Mike Holmgren drafted him in the third round (No. 85 overall) in 2010 from Texas. McCoy got his shot because of injuries and helped the Browns upset the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots.
In 2011, McCoy started all 13 games before suffering a season-ending concussion as a result of the devastating blow he absorbed from Harrison in the fourth quarter Dec. 8, 2011. The hit led to a huge controversy because the Browns allowed McCoy to re-enter the game without administering a concussion test on the sideline.
The Browns drafted Weeden 22nd overall last year, and McCoy hasn’t started since. He appeared in three games this past season, completing 9-of-17 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown without an interception.
McCoy has completed 409-of-702 career passes (58.3 percent) for 4,388 yards and 21 touchdowns with 20 interceptions. His career passer rating is 74.8, and his record as a starter is 6-15.
In addition to Weeden and Campbell, the Browns have third-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis on the roster. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if they draft a developmental quarterback.
Working out prospects
Kentucky guard Larry Warford and Rutgers cornerback Logan Ryan conducted private workouts with the Browns last week, a league source said.
The 6-foot-3, 332-pound Warford started all 37 games at right guard during the past three seasons. NFLDraftScout.com projects him as a second- or third-round pick.
Last season as a senior, Warford did not allow a sack, graded out at 90.3 percent on blocking assignments and tallied 48 knockdown blocks, according to Kentucky. He also was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press last year and received second-team All-SEC honors in each of the past three seasons.
The 5-11, 191-pound Ryan started all 26 games the past two seasons. NFLDraftScout.com projects him as a second- or third-round pick.
Last season as a junior, Ryan compiled 94 tackles, 17 pass breakups, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. As a sophomore, he had 67 tackles, 13 pass breakups, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Sixty-one of 63 players, including McCoy, reported to the team’s training facility for the start of its offseason conditioning program, a league source said. Two players did not attend the first day of the voluntary program because of personal reasons, the source said.
The Browns will hold their first minicamp under Chudzinski April 16-18.
“It was great to see the guys as a group for the first time,” Chudzinski said in a news release. “I was extremely pleased with the turnout — we had more than 60 players participate. I believe that the program [strength and conditioning coach] Brad [Roll] and our strength staff has devised will greatly benefit our players. These next two weeks will be an opportunity for the players to get acclimated to our offseason program, spend some time getting to know each other and also to have some meeting time with their position coaches before having our first organized on-field work on April 16.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.