The Cleveland Browns are hosting Jake Delhomme and maybe dangling Brady Quinn.
Released last week after seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers, Delhomme is visiting Thursday with the perpetually rebuilding Browns, who have been busy this week trying to improve their unstable quarterback situation.
Delhomme’s agent, Rick Smith, confirmed that the 35-year-old free agent QB is at the Browns’ team headquarters in Berea, Ohio.
The team has not yet commented on Delhomme’s visit.
The Browns have been actively shopping for a quarterback, a position they haven’t been able to adequately fill since their NFL expansion return in 1999. Earlier this week, the team acquired backup Seneca Wallace in a trade from Seattle and released Derek Anderson, who took a swipe at Cleveland fans on his way out of town.
The club’s interest in Delhomme seems to indicate a reluctance to hand the starting job back to Quinn, who has struggled as a pro. Quinn is just 3-9 in 12 career starts with Cleveland, but some of the former Notre Dame star’s inconsistency can be attributed to the Browns’ lack of talent, as well as coaching and front-office changes in recent years.
Quinn was rumored to be on the trading block last year, but the Browns didn’t find a suitable deal and he began the 2009 season as their starter. He was replaced just 2 1/2 games in by Anderson, who couldn’t hold down the job and was eventually benched.
Browns president Mike Holmgren, who has spent his career developing quarterbacks, has yet to endorse Quinn, another sign the club may be trying to trade him.
Holmgren knows that finding a competent quarterback is essential to any team’s success.
"It’s a huge decision," Holmgren said at the scouting combine last month. "It’s the most important decision on the football team and the great teams have that guy."
If he’s signed by the Browns, Delhomme could serve as a mentor for Quinn or possibly take over as starter while the club grooms another QB. Cleveland currently has 11 draft picks, and it’s possible it could use a high one on a college prospect.
Delhomme went 58-40 in seven seasons as the Panthers’ starter and led them to their only Super Bowl appearance. However, he threw 18 interceptions last season and was cut so the Panthers could trim payroll and promote Matt Moore to starter.
Delhomme was wildly popular in Carolina. He joined the Panthers as a free agent in 2003 and led them to the Super Bowl in his first season. He holds almost every team passing record, and after he was released last week, Delhomme broke down in tears as he said goodbye to Carolina fans.