December 22, 2017
It may seem unfair to pick apart the lowly, 0-14 Cleveland Browns. They're so predictably terrible and inept that it would be kinder to ignore them than to pity them.
But as Eagles fans well know, Philadelphia owes a major debt of gratitude to the three stooges who assembled this Browns team: Coach Hue Jackson, fired personnel head Sashi Brown and converted baseball front office guy Paul DePodesta.
They collectively decided to trade away the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft that became the Eagles franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz.
A new, stomach-turning report from ESPN offers deeper insight into just how close the Browns were to selecting Wentz — and how ready Wentz was to accept his fate in Cleveland.
For months, Jackson had been talking to Wentz and feeding him advance looks at the team's playbook. Wentz was practicing those plays in North Dakota with former NFL quarterback Ryan Lindley. His friends and fans in Fargo told him they hoped he didn't have to go to Cleveland, but Wentz possessed the one quality — eternal optimism — that would have suited him better for such a dumpster fire than any top quarterback prospect in recent memory.
Here's the tidbit from ESPN that will really make you cringe and rejoice at the same time:
When one of his college coaches showed Wentz an Instagram picture of a high school kid in North Dakota wearing a Browns jersey with WENTZ on the back, the quarterback thought it was cool. He was even considering getting a Browns tattoo. The morning of his pro day, Wentz met with Jackson and former QB coach Pep Hamilton for an hour, admitting he'd barely slept because he was up late, anxiously studying their playbook like he was prepping for a final exam.
Somehow, after all this, the Browns' brain trust said: "Nope! We're good."
For Eagles fans, it's been tough coming to terms with Wentz's season-ending ACL tear, which came on a play that illustrates the painful difference between being a savior and being an MVP.
Still, as a fan, it's much better to see Wentz learn that distinction for the future than to have to cheer for the Browns.
Cleveland now has a new GM in John Dorsey, formerly of the Chiefs, and the Browns have a ton of high draft picks heading into 2018. They might want to consider holding onto that top pick. If another guy is willing to get a Browns tattoo for them, he's worth the ink on their end.