On Sept. 18th the Cleveland Browns once again made a move that caused fans to scratch their heads. Owner Jimmy Haslam approved a trade to send their 2012 third overall draft pick, running back Trent Richardson, to the Indianapolis Colts. In return the Browns received a first round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. This is just another head-scratcher in a long line of questionable moves made by the Cleveland Browns organization since their return to the NFL in 1999.
The quarterback is supposed to be the centerpiece of an organization. However, it seems that the Browns just can’t get it right. They have started 19 different quarterbacks over the last 14 years. To put this in perspective, consider that in the same time span the New England Patriots have started three quarterbacks and the New York Giants have started only four. With an average of 1.4 starting quarterbacks per season, it can be very difficult for the team to garner leadership from a franchise-type player. In 2012 the Browns selected Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, who was already 28-years-old at the time, with their 22nd overall pick, passing on standout Russell Wilson. In Weeden’s 17 starts, he has thrown only 15 touchdowns compared to his 20 interceptions and four fumbles. He has posted a quarterback rating of 25.8 while an average quarterback would post a rating of 50.0.
Since 1999 the Browns are also on their seventh head coach. An average tenure of only two years for the man responsible for calling the shots for your football team is not a recipe for success. Management has tried everything from defensive gurus to offensive geniuses, and they just can’t get it right. This past offseason, the Browns attempted a complete organizational overhaul in hopes that it would jumpstart their success.
In the 14 years since their return, the Browns have posted a cringe-worthy record of 74-153 (.323 winning percentage), with just two winning seasons and only one playoff appearance. Since April 2000 the Browns have had a combined total of 30 first or second round draft picks with very few of them panning out as successful NFL players.
Something must be done within this organization to turn things around. Trading away your best offensive player and receiving just a first round draft pick in return is not a good move for Cleveland. Although the Browns won on Sunday against the Vikings, the Trent Richardson trade was just the latest installment in a series of poor decisions for the blatantly bad Browns.