A.J. McCarron's victorious result in his arbitration hearing against the Cincinnati Bengals frees him to sign with any NFL team as an unrestricted free agent.
So, cue the lazy narrative that because McCarron played for then-offensive coordinator Hue Jackson in Cincinnati, and because Jackson and the Cleveland Browns need a quarterback, and because McCarron's quarterback coach is now on Jackson's staff, and because the Browns tried to trade for McCarron on Halloween, it's a forgone conclusion that McCarron is bound for Cleveland.
I sure hope not.
For McCarron's sake, and for the Browns.
I'm sure Jackson would love to have McCarron, and he almost did when the Browns dangled a second- and third-round pick for McCarron at the trade deadline.
But the one thing Jackson has shown himself adept at achieving so far as Browns head coach – and besides losing a lot, this is the only thing Jackson has proven – is that he's abysmal at selecting quarterbacks.
I heard a Bengals' reporter tell a Cleveland radio station on Friday that Hue hasn’t had a fair chance because he hasn't gotten to pick his quarterback yet.
That's a lie.
Jackson picked Cody Kessler in the third round of the 2016 draft.
Jackson selected Robert Griffin III as a free agent later that summer and gushed about his potential.
And Jackson bathed DeShone Kizer in compliments last season before he yanked him in and out of the lineup and may have permanently damaged his psyche.
Jackson, the quarterback whisperer, is 0-for-3 on picking a player at the most important position on the field, which is only supposed to be his specialty.
For that reason, I sure hope GM John Dorsey and his scouting department will pick the quarterback Cleveland takes No. 1 overall in April.
There's only one thing the Browns could do that would be dumber than letting Jackson pick the quarterback, and that's trusting Jackson that McCarron is the answer and then either not pick a QB or trade the choice to accumulate more draft choices.
In the Trade Down/Sashi Brown era, I wouldn't have put that past the Cleveland, ahem, braintrust. But if Dorsey doubles down on dumb and does the same, then we'll know there's a Crazy Gene mutating in the Browns' front office.
Had the Browns completed their trade for McCarron last season, they at least would have a clear picture of whether he's the answer moving forward, based upon his performance over the final two months.
But when Brown didn't get the paperwork for the trade in on time to complete the deal, McCarron stayed in Cincinnati, the Browns barreled blindly on to an 0-16 finish and the ship hopefully left the harbor on McCarron coming to Cleveland this off-season.
It would be the wrong move for the club because it absolutely must unite every single franchise resource behind whoever it drafts No. 1 overall to ensure that player becomes successful.
It is inconceivable that such a player would be someone who couldn't beat out Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.
McCarron has started four games in his career and has barely played the past two seasons.
Sure, he's taken more NFL snaps than any rookie the Browns could draft. But signing McCarron would make no sense for the Browns or him.
McCarron hasn't played enough to mentor a QB taken No. 1 overall into the franchise savior Cleveland better be bent on developing.
And with at least six other teams in the market for a starting quarterback, why would McCarron want to sign in Cleveland to play for one season or less before the Browns inevitably move on to their top choice in April?
There was a time that an A.J. McCarron-Cleveland Browns marriage made sense.
That time has passed, however, and now it's best for both that they go in different directions.
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