It was likely a tongue-in-cheek moment, but nonetheless it’s one that hangs in the air: Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine, when asked about the rumors swirling that his team may want to trade up to select quarterback Marcus Mariota in next week’s draft, Pettine responded:
"Sure…why not?" – Pettine when asked if #Browns are open to trading up for Marcus Mariota
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) April 21, 2015
Though the Elyria Chronicle-Tribune‘s Scott Petrak was quick to note that Pettine was being “light-hearted” in his response, the tone will be lost as well as the context, especially in this tense pre-draft period where rumors are treated like facts and any comment—no matter how flippantly expressed—will be highly scrutinized.
#Browns Pettine won't rule out trading up for Marcus Mariota. But being light-hearted about rumors, with questions.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) April 21, 2015
As noted by CBS Sports’ Jeff Reynolds, Pettine continued:
“My opinion— and I talked about it last year—it’s all about value. It’s making sure that you’re getting value for the pick and you’re adding value to your roster and players that can help you in the short term and in the long term.”
The question remains, though, of whether Mariota is worth the Browns giving up both of their Round 1 picks in the 2015 draft—plus potentially a second-rounder—to move up as high as No. 2 or No. 3 overall to select him.
Cleveland currently has four quarterbacks on the roster: veteran Josh McCown, 2014 first-rounder Johnny Manziel, second-year player Connor Shaw and journeyman Thaddeus Lewis. It should be possible for the Browns to choose a starter from this group rather than giving up valuable picks for Mariota, especially given the team’s other glaring positional needs.
Further, with Pettine addressing the media reports that the Browns were “90 percent moved on from” Manziel as “ridiculous,” it seems unlikely the team is seeking a Round 1 quarterback for the second consecutive year.
Instead, it appears Pettine’s comments were merely of the joking variety. It’s just a matter of keeping everything he said in context with the tone he used, rather than jumping to conclusions that Cleveland has serious intent to offer up a cluster of draft picks for Mariota.
Photo: USA Today Sports