With quarterback Matt Moore re-signing with the Dolphins and Brian Hoyer staying in Arizona with a second-round tender in restricted free agency, the Browns suddenly find themselves faced with the reality of a shortage at the position in free agency.
As a result, Cleveland is still expected to pursue a trade for Patriots back-up QB Ryan Mallett, Cleveland Plain-Dealer reporter Mary Kay Cabot wrote Saturday.
A different source in the same article said Patriots coach Bill Belichick will not part with the former third-round pick. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady signed a three-year extension this offseason, putting him in New England through 2017, when he will be 40 years old. Mallett has two years left on his rookie contract. Cabot wrote the Patriots wouldn't part with him for less than a second-round pick.
Cleveland does not have a second-round pick in this draft; it was used in the supplemental draft to select wide receiver Josh Gordon.
With a new ownership group and coaching staff in place, it's yet another fresh start in Cleveland. It remains to be seen what the new regime really feels about the future of Brandon Weeden — the Falcons' 2011 first-round pick that the Browns acquired as part of the 2010 trade for the sixth overall pick in the draft. Atlanta used that pick on Julio Jones.
The Browns haven't finished higher than 24th in the NFL in scoring since 2008, and have finished in the top 10 only once since 1988, when Derek Anderson led them to a 10-6 record in 2007.
They also started Thad Lewis in a Week 17 throwaway game to end last year. Lewis posted an 83.3 passer rating with 204 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the loss.