The Cleveland Browns are increasingly in a better situation as the 2016 NFL season inches closer. Not only was star wide receiver Josh Gordon reinstated by the league this week, but the team also brought in four rookie wide receivers, signed Robert Griffin III and drafted Cody Kessler as a potential long-term option under center.

The maturation of the offense hasn’t been amazing, but the progress has been slow and steady under new head coach Hue Jackson’s watch. It also, unfortuately, has left solid journeyman passer Josh McCown with the impression that he’s out of a job.

End of the Line?

Despite faring quite well with the Browns in 2015, McCown couldn’t stay healthy and ultimately lost his job to a now released Johnny Manziel and eventually RG3. The big question for McCown, who can arguably still play at a fairly high level, is where does he go from here?

The arrival of two new quarterbacks may suggest McCown is on the outs with Cleveland, while a new head coach and management probably pushes that notion over the edge. It is possibly only a matter of time before McCown is cut loose or dealt, and it may simply come down to what the Browns feel they can get for him via a trade.

That could indeed be the writing on the wall, but reports earlier from camp suggested McCown “was the best quarterback” for Cleveland. Despite being 37 years old, McCown still exhibits strong mobility and above average arm strength, while there is little doubt he has better awareness in the pocket than the man trying to take his job – RG3.

Major Asset

There is a strong argument for Cleveland keeping McCown, as he’s at worst a great mind in the quarterback room, as well as a strong insurance policy on the bench. At best, he’s a quality starter that could help the Browns win games again in 2016, much like he did in spots in 2015. Cleveland wasn’t an overly successful team in terms of getting wins with him at the helm, but McCown mastered Cleveland’s offense and had the Browns in just about every game he appeared in.

The same may not be able to be said about Robert Griffin III, who has looked inconsistent at best since joining the Browns. RG3 has always been an erratic player, while his injury history could also be troubling for the Browns. If the Browns don’t feel confident in rolling with Austin Davis or rookie Cody Kessler in the event RG3 gets hurt or falters, keeping McCown certainly has its perks.

Possible Suitors

As much of a luxury as McCown looks to be on paper, he also might cost too much for the Browns to keep as a backup. Due to count over $4 million against the books in 2016, McCown could be on the move merely due to financial reasons.

If McCown ends up getting dealt, the Browns are looking at one of two realistic trade partners: the Denver Broncos and new York Jets.

The Broncos and Jets are both potential playoff teams with strong supporting casts in place, so there is an argument trading for a stable veteran like McCown could potentially put either one of them over the top. Both are currently heading into 2016 without last year’s stater, too, as Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to hold out from the Jets and Denver lost both Peyton Manning (retirement) and Brock Osweiler (free agency).

The Jets are arguably in the worse spot, as they have Geno Smith as their main backup plan, and don’t seem particularly excited about turning to him or youngsters, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Their ideal situation would be to finish a deal to bring Fitzpatrick, or burn that bridge by trading for McCown.

The same goes for Denver, who are coming off a Super Bowl win and feel they have the defense, coaching and supporting offensive pieces to shoot for a repeat. Quarterback is their lone glaring issue, with Mark Sanchez looking like the only option under center at the moment. Rookie Paxton Lynch doesn’t seem ready and Trevor Siemian, though generating praise, has never been regarded as a prospect worth shoving into a big role.

Suffice to say, both New York and Denver should be giving Cleveland a call.

What Should Browns Do?

Signing Robert Griffin III probably looked like a fun, splashy move on paper, but Hue Jackson and co. probably learned quickly what the Washington Redskins found out: RG3 isn’t an NFL starter. He simply lacks the pocket presence, awareness and consistency to get the job done.

RG3 looked like a good get on paper, but Cleveland made a mistake here and instead should be moving forward with McCown as the starter with Davis and Kessler working to improve behind him. Ideally, Kessler is the future and in a season or two, he’d get his chance. For now, however, the Browns would be foolish to trade McCown, who was their best quarterback in 2015 and still is going into 2016.

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