The Cleveland Browns will be evaluating their options to improve the quarterback position this offseason, and a trade for Philadelphia Eagles backup Gardner Minshew could spark intense competition.
Minshew has 22 starts in Jacksonville and Philadelphia and is a good target for the Browns if they decide to go the competitive route rather than pursue a high-profile target like Russell Westbrook, Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson.
The Athletic had Minshew in mind as a name the Browns could explore this offseason.
The quarterback room remake begins with the release or trade of veteran backup Case Keenum, who made two starts last season but is expected to make $7.1 million in 2022. Potential free-agent options to provide insurance and competition for Mayfield include Marcus Mariota and Mitchell Trubisky, a Cleveland-area native. The Browns could also explore a trade for Gardner Minshew, who served as the Eagles’ backup last season.
Minshew has posted solid stats throughout his NFL career, despite not having been in the best of situations. He has 5,969 yards with 41 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions.
Minshew has one year left on his rookie deal and will be getting just over $2.5 million next season. That would make a lot more sense for the Browns than it did for Keenum, who the team didn’t seem capable of starting in more places when Mayfield was limping.
Browns believe Mayfield can recover
Mayfield is entering the final year of his rookie deal and there has been speculation the team could try to find a replacement this offseason after the former top pick faltered during the Browns’ disappointing 8-9 campaign .
However, the Browns have backed Mayfield as their starter for next season in hopes that his improved health will lead to more consistent results on the field.
“The reality is we’ve seen (Mayfield) play at a high level before,” Browns GM Andrew Berry said on March 1 of the NFL Combine. “To be realistic, the injury (actually) had some impact on his performance. We’re focused on getting him healthy and we’ve seen how he works. We’ve seen him play at the playoff level before. I don’t think there’s any reason why he can’t recover and play at this (high) level next year.”
Berry didn’t rule out the Browns looking to quarterbacks for competition.
“We really look at (the roster) like we’re an expansion team,” Berry said, “and when we have the opportunity to match resources with talent, we want to keep adding talent to the roster. And that goes for every position.”
Browns met with Mayfield’s representatives at the Combine
Mayfield’s reps met with the Browns at the combine, Mary Kay Cabot wrote in a story published March 3 on Cleveland.com. The hope is he can bounce back from an injury-ridden year to prove he’s the franchise’s best long-term option. Until he can sign a long-term contract, there is speculation about his future.
“The two sides also agreed that he will enter the final season of his contract – the fifth option year for $18.86 million – without a renewal but with a chance to prove he’s the long-term answer.” , wrote Cabot.
Mayfield underwent surgery on Jan. 19 to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, which he suffered in Week 2 while attempting to make a tackle after an interception. He also dealt with less severe foot and knee ailments.
The Browns released a statement that day saying Mayfield would begin light pitching in April, adding that he would be able to participate in the offseason program on a limited basis. He is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in July.
https://heavy.com/sports/cleveland-browns/garnder-minshew-trade/ Eagles QB Gardner Minshew proposed as a trade option for Browns