Browns play The Deal McCoy

Even if a deal is struck Friday, the compensation for McCoy would be only a Saturday selection.

At noon Eastern at the team's Berea headquarters Friday, it was not certain yet how many teams have checked in with Cleveland officials about the price tag for third-year veteran quarterback Colt McCoy, but the team did acknowledge that no club had yet "entered into substantive discussions" about a deal.

If the Browns indeed trade McCoy, it might not happen until Saturday and the compensation would be modest for teams looking at paying backup prices for what even Cleveland apparently concedes is a No. 2 quarterback.

But at least two of the franchises with some interest in McCoy are from the AFC North, the Browns' division, and officials from the two teams acknowledge that Cleveland likely won't do business with a division foe. It makes some sense that, despite the fact McCoy is 0-8 in starts against division rivals, the AFC North clubs would have some degree of interest.

McCoy is familiar with the division, and officials from the two AFC North teams that at least discussed him internally between Thursday night and Friday morning like his toughness and competitiveness. And consider the backup quarterback situations for the three other AFC North teams.

Pittsburgh veteran backups Byron Leftwich (re-signed on Thursday) and Charlie Batch are 32 and 37, respectively, and the Steelers would like to bring in a younger player to at least compete for a spot on the depth chart. The Bengals' Bruce Gradkowski is pretty much a journeyman, and has actually started one fewer game in six seasons (20) than McCoy has in two. Baltimore primary backup Tyrod Taylor is a young player general manager Ozzie Newsome likes, but his resume includes one pass attempt. The Ravens last week signed former longtime Indianapolis caddy Curtis Painter.

The intra-divisional situation may reflect the potential problems the Browns could encounter in seeking to trade McCoy, a former third-round choice. In addition, there simply aren't that many teams that need No. 2 quarterbacks.

There were reports that Green Bay, which lost backup Matt Flynn in free agency, has indicated to the Browns an interest. Philadelphia also makes some sense, not only because of need, but because Browns' general manager Tom Heckert used to work for the Eagles and retains strong ties to the Philly personnel department. Sources said that at least two other teams, one from each conference, have some interest.

And there is this angle: Earlier this week, the Eagles were able to get only a seventh-round choice, from Atlanta, for four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel. The cost of doing trade business has been severely blunted, so Cleveland doesn't figure to get much for a quarterback with a 6-15 record in two seasons.

Even if a deal is struck Friday, the compensation for McCoy would be only a Saturday selection. Heckert suggested Thursday night, after choosing Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden with his team's latter choice in the first round, that a McCoy trade might be discussed.

There is also a chance, not so preposterous given the circumstances, that the Browns, who already have veteran Seneca Wallace as a backup, will keep McCoy around for a while.

Browns' officials emphasized to The Sports Xchange, as has been reported by some other media outlets, that McCoy has not requested a trade. In fact, McCoy has indicated to team officials his preference for remaining with the club and competing with Weeden for the starting job in training camp.

The 22nd overall choice on Thursday night, Weeden is 28 and will turn 29 in October. He is more than three years older than McCoy and, because of his advanced age, the perception is that the Browns will have to start him as a rookie. But first, though, the club has to decide what to do with McCoy, and that might be easier said than done.

The OBR Top Stories