Hey, Mary Kay!
Hey, Mary Kay: Can you foresee Alex Smith and Hue Jackson working and playing well with each other? Unless, the offensive coordinator that is hired has the ability to adjust the game plan to Smith’s talents, I have doubts about a Smith-Jackson marriage. Of course, that is not taking into account the fact that Smith would be Jackson’s last chance to survive here and that might make Jackson more accepting of a change in style. — Ken Leib, West Chester, Ohio
Hey, Ken: I don’t think Hue Jackson would have any trouble adapting to Smith’s more West Coast style of play. Jackson has a West Coast background with his own downfield style mixed in. Besides, Smith threw deeper a lot more this season with former coordinator Matt Nagy calling plays. In fact, he finished amongst the league leaders in completions of 20-plus yards and 40-plus yards. Through the first five weeks of the season, he was No. 1 in accuracy on 20-plus throws. He also doesn’t throw many interceptions, which is huge for Jackson. He’s also the only QB in NFL history to throw for more than 3,000 yards and fewer than 10 picks in five straight seasons. With 2017 No. 10 overall pick Patrick Mahomes ready to take over, the Chiefs are willing to trade Smith, according to NFL Network.
The Browns, in the market for a good veteran quarterback, will undoubtedly be interested, especially because John Dorsey traded for him in K.C. and enjoyed three playoff seasons with him in four years as GM there. Smith is in the final year of his contract, another reason the Chiefs might be willing to deal him. The Browns have the ammunition to get the deal done, but they’ll also likely draft a quarterback No. 1 overall, so that will factor into how much they’re willing to give up.
Hey, Mary Kay: If the Browns acquire an Alex Smith or a Kirk Cousins, wouldn’t Cleveland be better off to start those guys and let DeShone Kizer learn for a couple of years and possibly trade the first pick for more assets and get Lamar Jackson later in the draft? That first pick could fetch a king’s ransom with the QB’s coming out. I liked a lot of Lamar Jackson’s talents, but no one is talking about him. There’s no guarantee Josh Rosen will stay healthy and Sam Darnold reminds me of Kizer where it’s too soon to play him. What do think? — Jon Gatchell, Findlay, Ohio
Hey, John: There’s some merit to what you’re proposing, but the Browns can’t afford to pass on the best quarterback in this talent-rich draft. They have another chance to land a franchise QB at No. 1, and they just can’t blow it again like they did on Carson Wentz. But the fact they’ll take that QB No. 1 overall means they probably won’t sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract averaging in the mid-$20 millions. As for Smith, with only one year left on his deal, they’d have to decide how much they’re willing to give up for that. Lamar Jackson is an intriguing prospect and worth a first-round pick, but not the No. 1 or No. 4 for the Browns.
At this point, I still think it comes down to Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold for them, and now that I’ve had time to watch several games of both, I’m leaning towards Darnold from a mobility standpoint. Again, it’s very early. Baker Mayfield can’t be left out of the mix, and one NFL personnel exec continues to insist that Wyoming’s Josh Allen is the guy.
Hey, Mary Kay: I live in South Central, Pa. and I’ve been a faithful Browns fan for 60 years. Even when they were dormant, no Ravens or Steelers for me — NEVER! There are at least five, maybe six good QBs in this draft. If “The Crow ” leaves via free agency, logic says take Saquon Barkley at No. 1 and a QB at 4, trade Kevin Hogan and a 5th-rounder for Alex Smith. With Duke and “Bark” we have the whole package: vet quarterback and plenty of lightning in the backfield. Your thoughts? — Chazz Brown, Chambersburg, Pa.
Hey, Chazz: No. 1 overall is too rich for Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. The Browns need to take the best QB there regardless of the veteran they acquire, and be set for the foreseeable future. As for Barkley at No. 4, that might also be too high. I’m still not a fan of taking a back that high when you can get a really good one in the second or third round, especially in this draft. The only way I’d take Barkley that high is if he’s a can’t-miss dominant, game-changing back. But John Dorsey found Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt, the Willoughby South and Toledo alum, in the third round, and he led the NFL with 1,327 yards this season.
Hey, Mary Kay: Can the Browns make a trade offer to Kansas City for Alex Smith after the Super Bowl or must they wait until the official start of the 2018 NFL season in March? — Charlie Cole, Sheridan, Wyoming
Hey, Charlie: They have to wait until the trade window opens on March 14th. But I’m sure by then they’ll have a good idea if they can pull it off. Teams can begin entering into negotiations with other teams’ free agents on March 12, and the competition for the top QBs will be fierce.