2020 NFL Draft

Farmer: 'Everything is on the table' with Browns' QB plans


INDIANAPOLIS -- No matter the name, no matter the hypothetical, Ray Farmer stuck with the message he's delivered about the Browns quarterback situation since his end-of-season press conference in December.

"Everything is on the table," the Cleveland general manager said shortly before his national media opportunity Thursday at the NFL Combine. "There's nothing we don't look at. There's no opportunity, there's no circumstance that is outside of our scope."

Whether it was trading up in the draft to land a top-ranked quarterback, drafting a quarterback with one of the team's 10 picks, trading with another team, signing a free agent or resigning Brian Hoyer, Farmer didn't tip his hand on any of the potential moves Cleveland could make in the coming months.

His assessment on where the Browns stand with Hoyer, who will enter free agency in a couple of weeks, served as a reminder that any of the team's plans are on a need-to-know basis.

"The roles and levels as to which we like guys, I never discuss that stuff publicly. It's our internal evaluations that have been made," Farmer said. "Our assessments of what that is will be delivered to both he and his agent. It is what it is at that point. I said this earlier – in every situation it requires two people to make a deal. If he likes our circumstances and our situation, that's part of it. If he doesn't, than that's his choice.

"We spend a lot of time trying to discuss the potential opportunities, who could get cut, who could get traded, who's going to be your free agent and weigh out the positives and negatives."

Whoever returns or is added to the roster will join Duke Johnson Jr. and Connor Shaw, both of whom recently completed their rookie seasons. Manziel, who started twice and appeared in relief of Hoyer for a fourth quarter against Buffalo in late November, has been at a treatment facility since late January and is in a "much better place now than before he went in," coach Mike Pettine said Wednesday. Shaw, who spent the first 16 weeks of the 2014 season on the practice squad, started the season finale at Baltimore and performed admirably.

Nothing that's occurred since the end of the season has affected the Browns' plan for the position, Farmer said.

"It's all about driving competition," Farmer said. "It's about finding any player that we think can help make us a better football team.

"I would tell you that that plan never ceases to exist. The easy way to say it is we're going to drive competition at every spot. It doesn't matter who's on our roster, it doesn't matter who's not on our roster, the object is to always make sure we have a better football team."

When it pertains to the players Farmer and his staff meet at the Combine, the general manager said the team's evaluation of the position continues to evolve.

Last year, with Farmer just a few weeks into his new position as general manager, the Browns did not formally interview quarterbacks at the Combine but met with many of them in informal settings. A handful of quarterbacks Thursday, including Alabama's Blake Sims and UCLA's Brett Hundley, said they met with the Browns.

"After every interview session, we sit down and talk about how did it go? Was this right? Can we change it in any way?" Farmer said. "There have been adjustments made. Those adjustments, I'll leave kind of hidden. I do think you are constantly evolving and making yourself better."

This article is part of the Road to the Draft series, driven by Liberty Ford.

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