Lee has been in the NFL since 2003 when he joined the Dallas Cowboys as an offensive quality control coach. He worked with the Dallas quarterbacks from 2005-06 before moving on as quarterbacks coach with the Miami Dolphins from 2008-10, the Buffalo Bills in 2012 and the New York Jets in 2013-14.
He returned to Buffalo under former head coach Rex Ryan and coached the Bills quarterbacks for the past two seasons where, according to the Bills website:
Lee’s return to Buffalo in 2015 was a remarkable success, as Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor became the first Buffalo quarterback to earn Pro Bowl honors since Drew Bledsoe in 2002.
Under Lee’s tutelage, Taylor established a new franchise record for rushing yards by a Bills QB in a single season with 568 yards. In addition to providing a dynamic threat on the ground, Taylor made the Bills a viable threat through the air as his 99.4 passer rating is the second-best in team history behind only Jim Kelly in 1990.
It is Lee’s work with Taylor that adds an extra layer of intrigue to the hiring.
The Browns need a quarterback – and that was even before they released Josh McCown and the inevitable release of Robert Griffin III – and the Bills are currently struggling over what to do with Taylor because his cap number increases to $15.9 million this fall if he is on the roster.
If Buffalo ultimately releases Taylor, there is a strong likelihood that the Browns would appeal to him as they have the cap space and he is familiar with working with Lee as his quarterback coach.
Lee also was able to get a good season out of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during his first tenure in Buffalo, but also struggled to get anything out of quarterback Geno Smith while he was with the Jets or quarterback E.J. Manuel with the Bills, but that could be beyond anyone’s power at this point.
Lee brings with him to Cleveland a philosophy that it takes times to develop players in the NFL, especially at the quarterback position.
“I’ll never forget this story that Bill Parcells told when I was with him in Dallas,” Lee told the Bills website in 2015. “He told us if you draft a guy in the first three rounds and he shows some flashes and does some things that excite you, you better give him that third year. He said Tom Landry taught him that.”
Having another veteran voice in the quarterback room that understand the value of patience should be a good thing, especially given the fact that the Browns are going to be young and inexperienced at the position this fall.