Veteran Quarterback Subtly Shades Browns After ‘Surprise’ Trade

Case Keenum

Getty Images Quarterbacks Case Keenum and Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns reshaped their quarterback room this offseason, which included shipping veteran backup Case Keenum to the Buffalo Bills.

For Keenum, being shipped out via trade was his ideal, getting to land with a team that wanted him enough to trade for him — albeit it was only a seventh-round pick.

“Honestly, to have a team come get you and not get released and go sign somewhere, they wanted me, they traded for me. It feels great to have a team like this, the caliber of players, the talent on the team, the type of offense they run, what Josh (Allen) has been able to do,” Keenum told the Buffalo News. “To be able to come and learn and grow my game and get myself out of my comfort zone and learn some new offense has been really good. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. It may have been a little bit of a surprise at the time, but man, it’s full excitement, ready to go. I’ve been excited to get here and work. It’s been a great spring.”

Keenum was an expensive backup for the Browns the last two seasons on an $18 million contract. But it’s fair to say Keenum may not have felt wanted in Cleveland at times, with the Browns deciding to run out a very banged up Baker Mayfield over him. When asked about that at the end of the season, Keenum declined to answer.

Case Keenum a Capable Backup for Contender

Keenum is a journeyman and the Browns were his fifth team in five seasons when he signed. However, he’s a backup option with experience that can at minimum hold down the fort in a pinch. The Bills needed a backup to Josh Allen after seeing Mitch Trubisky land in the AFC North with the Steelers.

Prior to the Browns, Keenum had most recently played with Washington, starting eight games. Keenum went 1-7 in his starts, passing for 1,707 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Keenum started 30 games over his previous two seasons before landing in Washington with the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings. In 2017, he went 11-3 with Minnesota, helping lead the team to the NFC championship game.

Keenum’s best year in terms of yardage was in Denver two seasons ago, passing for 3,890 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 16 starts. Keenum also spent time in Houston and with the Rams.

So far, Keenum and Allen have meshed well in Buffalo.

“Golf, humor and personalities, we match up pretty well,” Allen said via video conference. “He’s a great dude, he’s been around the league a long time, he knows a lot of different things. Been in multiple offenses, he knows how to deal with guys, so I can lean on him heavily about things that I see, things that he sees.”

The Browns making a move for Deshaun Watson is what triggered the restructuring of the QB room, which has been an interesting process. Baker Mayfield remains on the roster with the Browns unable to find a trade partner and Watson’s future remains uncertain due to a looming NFL suspension.

Jacoby Brissett and Joshua Dobbs make up the rest of the QB depth chart in Cleveland. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has expressed he’d be comfortable if it came down to Brissett starting and Dobbs backing up.

“I do have confidence in Jacoby. He has played a lot of football for a young player. He is a smart player. He takes care of the football. Good size, can make all of the throws and those type of things. He has been in multiple offenses,” Stefanski said during mandatory minicamp. “Our offense is a little bit different than what he has done previously but has a really, really good understanding of football – football intelligence that is – so I just think he is a really good operator.”

The Browns are currently +230 to win the AFC North, behind the Bengals (+195) and Ravens (+185).

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