Opinion: Kaepernick would be a good fit in Browns’ new system

Richard Mulhall

Reports have surfaced that the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is hesitant to take a pay cut to sign with the Cleveland Browns, and I honestly can’t say that I blame him.

According to Cleveland.com, the Browns are willing to give up their 2016 third-round pick in the NFL Draft for Kaepernick. However, the trade is contingent upon restructuring the five-year quarterback’s $19 million contract.

The 49ers would want a second-round pick for Kaepernick, who has been the team’s outright starter for a number of years now, but they would be willing to take a third-round pick from Cleveland since it’s the second pick of the round (No. 65).

The Broncos were the frontrunners in the sweepstakes to lure Kaepernick, but they have recently shown their reluctance to trade for him. They have also gone ahead and taken the initiative to trade for the Denver Broncos’ Mark Sanchez Friday, which obviously puts a damper on a potential trade for Kaepernick.

The Browns might now be the favorite to steal Kaepernick away, but it’s still unclear if Kaepernick will be willing to jump ship. He is apparently “wary of taking a lower-money deal on a bad team that is losing talent and that may also use its first-round pick, No. 2 overall, on a quarterback.”

If I were Kaepernick, I would be leery of going to the Browns – especially considering the Browns have made little-to-no deals in free agency. After the abysmal failure of the Johnny Manziel experiment, Kaepernick might also not want his fate to be the same.

Let’s face it, the Browns have become a cesspool of quarterback career failure – a place where quarterbacks go to die. Many think that for the sake of both parties, the Browns would be wise to start fresh – again – and draft their quarterback of the future in this year’s draft while keeping Josh McCown as a mentor. This kind of situation would be comparable to what the team tried to do a few years ago with Jake Delhomme and Colt McCoy.

Regarding Kaepernick’s situation, he never really got a fair second chance in San Francisco. Though his last two seasons with the 49ers have been far from promising (10-14 record as a starter), but with a new coach and system in place, San Francisco might want to give Kaepernick another shot.

In my opinion, though, I think Kaepernick would be a nice fit in with the Browns. Do I think he’s the knight in shining armor the city’s been clamoring for? Do I think he’s the hero that will come in and save the day as the face of the franchise? Probably not, but I think he could represent a small step in the right direction for Cleveland.

The Browns’ new head coach Hue Jackson has said before that he likes Kaepernick, and in turn, according to ESPN Kaepernick has said he would like to play for Jackson. The only problem standing in the way is money. Would Kaepernick be willing to take a pay cut to play for Cleveland? Not many players are itching to play for the Browns, and even less for a reduced salary.

In terms of who Cleveland should select as their next field general on offense, I have grown weary of the Browns’ constant inclination toward drafting a quarterback. The Browns need so much more than a young, inexperienced quarterback and should draft in other areas of need besides the quarterback position. The Browns would do well to go with a veteran quarterback instead of starting over and putting all the weight of the offense on the shoulders of a rookie yet again. Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Johnny Manziel: All rookies who tried to bear the brunt of an incompetent organization and faltered under the pressure.

With a guy like Kaepernick who has starting experience under center, the Browns could lean on him to be the anchor of the offense, something Manziel couldn’t do. Cleveland could finally find leadership instead of forcing it upon another inexperienced rookie ill-equipped to take the reigns for a dysfunctional franchise on the mend.

Richard Mulhall is a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].