Why Taylor fits the bill for the Browns

Tyrod Taylor breaks free of the Browns' defense in a 2015 preseason game. (USA Today photo)

The trade for quarterback Tyrod Taylor was a very savvy one, and it illustrates the unpublished roadmap that the Browns are following under new GM John Dorsey.

Why trading for Taylor was so savvy

  • He is an experienced starter with a winning record. The Browns went all last season without a QB on the roster who had EVER started and won a single NFL game.
  • He’ll be 29 years old this season, right about the mid-career peak for his position.
  • Since 2015, no starting QB except Tom Brady has a lower interception percentage.
  • Compared to the guaranteed money that other QBs are signing for, Taylor’s contract is affordable at $16 million for 2018. This saves the Browns cap space with which to secure the long-term services of many other players and to invest further in Taylor if he proves worthy.
  • He adds a chain-moving dimension as a runner, gaining more yards on the ground than any other QB since 2015 this side of Cam Newton.
  • He’s a high-character leader, which is exactly what you want as a model on a young roster.
  • The trade cost of the 65th overall draft pick is very reasonable in light of Taylor’s contract status, his productivity, and the Browns still having five earlier picks to make. There are only so many rookies that you want on the team at once.

What it tells us about the Browns’ plans

  • They will obviously draft a young quarterback to develop as the long-term face of the franchise. Having a blue-chip QB under a rookie contract for the next several years only helps the Browns’ overall salary cap outlook.
  • They’ll draft that rookie QB first overall. Too much suffering has gone into getting the Browns into position to invest in their top choice at the game’s most important position. The Jets just traded up to third overall so they can fortify the QB position long term. It makes no sense whatsoever to let them and other teams take who they like best and risk your destiny on the best of the rest at fourth overall.
  • The Browns offensive style in 2018: expect the unexpected. New OC Todd Haley plays to his players’ strengths, and his unit is set to have a strong interior line and a nice mix of skill position weapons, ranging from possession specialist Jarvis Landry to game-breaker Josh Gordon to hybrid threat Duke Johnson. Taylor can control the ball both on the ground and with efficient passing, plus he throws a nice deep ball, which you need defenses to honor.
  • The Browns expect to establish a winning program starting now. Naming Taylor the surefire starter creates clarity amid continued roster change. Dorsey and company are thinking more than one or two steps down the road. But the mandate to compete and win right away is clear and absolutely necessary. Taylor gives them that chance while they continue to build and maintain the flexibility to fortify the QB position and the roster as events and players develop.