Just when you think things couldn't get any worse for the Browns, they always seem to sink a little lower. I don't say this to pour any salt in the wounds of Browns fans. To the contrary, I feel their pain. I don't know how they manage to stay loyal through it all.
The funny thing is, the Browns looked like a real contender early this season. They even led their division at one time near midseason. Then the wheels came off and they tumbled out of playoff contention and back to the dumps.
When they were winning, it was their defense and some decent play from Brian Hoyer at quarterback. But all the while Hoyer was leading the team to wins, their first round pick Johnny Manziel was on the sideline waiting for his shot. In week 12, Hoyer threw 3 interceptions with no touchdowns but the Browns still won. Then over the next two weeks he threw 4 interceptions with no touchdowns and the Browns lost both games. This ushered in the Johnny Football era. But it was short lived.
Manziel came in week 15 and stunk it up in his first start. The following week he suffered a terrible knee injury and was out for the finale. The Browns sat at 7-4 after week 12, firmly in playoff contention. Then promptly lost their final five games to miss the playoffs.
Since then the Brown has really hit the fan.
In the past few days, the news out of Cleveland is of the most dysfunctional team possibly in all of sports. And that is even without the ongoing Federal fraud investigation currently underway into owner Jimmy Haslam's truck stop franchise, Pilot Flying J.
The team's elite wide receiver, Josh Gordon, failed an alcohol test which, because he had a DUI on his record, was a big no-no. He had already been suspended the first 10 games of last season for failing a previous drug test. Now with this latest failed test he is officially suspended for at least a year.
Also having serious alcohol problems is Manziel who checked himself into rehab recently. That in and of itself is a good thing. The fact that it came to this is not.
This is where Derek Carr comes in.
Browns GM Ray Farmer wanted to draft Derek Carr. According to CBS Sports, the Browns draft board had Derek Carr squarely atop it followed by Teddy Bridgewater and then Manziel. After surprising everyone by taking cornerback Justin Gilbert with their top pick, their second pick was at 22 overall and all three of their QB choices were on the board.
Even with Carr and Bridgewater as the top two players on their board, owner Jimmy Haslam stepped in and make the executive decision to take Manziel. Thus leaving Bridgewater for the Vikings to trade up and draft at 32 overall and Carr still on the board when the Raiders picked at 36 overall in the second round.
While the main crux of the issue in Cleveland is the meddling of Haslam, in this case it saved Derek Carr from joining the tire fire in Cleveland. Carr ended up starting all 16 games for the Raiders. Bridgewater had a pretty good season in Minnesota too.
Meanwhile in Cleveland, the news would get worse.
As it happens, both of the Browns first round picks were causing problems. Justin Gilbert was late constantly and is said to have not gotten along with his teammates. His lackadaisical attitude had him buried on the depth chart.
With all these issues swirling, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan wanted out of his contract after just one season with the team. In an odd twist of fate, replacing Shanahan as OC was Derek Carr's quarterbacks coach in Oakland, John DeFilippo.
One of the reasons Shanahan wanted out - one of a reported 32 reasons - was the team is under investigation for alleged illegal texting of playcalls by the GM to the sideline. If they are found to have committed the offense, they will receive some harsh penalties including loss of draft picks.
Though losing draft picks isn't the end of the world, especially considering they have not shown they know how to properly use them. And, ironically it's for that reason the Derek Carr was not subjected to that dumpster fire along with the very reason his former QB coach is now part of it.
Derek Carr is known for thanking God for just about everything. Well, add this one into those prayers.