Former Notre Dame star Brady Quinn’s NFL career took it’s first major turn on Sunday when he was traded to the Denver Broncos after spending his first three NFL seasons with his home state Cleveland Browns. Quinn, a former first round pick by Cleveland, was shipped to Denver in exchange to fullback Peyton Hillis and an conditional draft pick.
Quinn had a rocky career in Cleveland from the start with a brief holdout before his rookie season. His up and down tenure in Cleveland comes to end just a day after the Browns signed former Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Jake Delhomme and less than a week after the traded for former Seattle Seahawk backup quarterback Seneca Wallace.
Originally drafted by the Browns in 2007 after a lengthy draft day tumble that saw Quinn walk onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall well after the rest of draft invitees, Quinn’s career never really got off the ground for his childhood favorite team. After the brief holdout, Cleveland named Charlie Frye their starting quarterback only to trade him two weeks into the season. Derek Anderson then stepped in and came out of nowhere to have a Pro Bowl season creating a quarterback controversy in Cleveland that never got settled.
Anderson struggled in 2008 allowing Quinn to briefly take over as the starter. A broken finger ended up costing Quinn his sophomore season after just three games. He entered 2009 as the starter for the Browns, but struggled early and lost his role to Anderson after another three starts. When Anderson couldn’t solidify the position the Browns went back to Quinn, but injuries again cut his season short.
Once thought to be the quarterback of the future for the Browns, Quinn ended up throwing just 10 touchdowns in 14 games over three seasons.
The trade will give Quinn a fresh starter, but he steps into a situation where he will start out as the #2 quarterback behind incumbent Kyle Orton. Orton, a former Purdue star, had a strong first season in Denver in 2009 with 21 touchdown passes and 3,802 yards. Orton, however, is currently a restricted free agent with the Broncos making him a first round tender offer. It’s not likely anyone will give up a first round pick for Orton though so he will most likely be back in Denver in 2010. The Brocnos now have a little more leverage in working out a deal with Orton though.
Should Quinn make it on the field and wrestle the starting job away from Orton, he will be in a much better situation with weapons like wide receiver Brandon Marshall (if the Bronocos keep their disgruntled star wide out) and sophomore running back Knowshon Moreno.
Working in Quinn’s favor will be a familar system. Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels succeeded Charlie Weis in New England after working on the offensive staff with him from 2001-2004.
Unfortunately for Quinn, his familiar #10 is currently occupied by wide receiver Jabar Gaffney. Should Quinn ended up starting, something tells me he won’t have too hard a time getting it back. Still, after wearing #10 in high school, college, and all three seasons of his NFL career, Quinn could be sporting a new number in 2010.