With the roles of Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel dominating headlines in Cleveland during the season’s first few weeks, the Browns have made a move with the third quarterback on their roster. According to Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Cleveland signed Austin Davis to a two-year, $4.173MM extension, locking him up through the 2017 season.
Davis, who started 2014 as the third quarterback on the Rams’ depth chart, eventually took over for Sam Bradford and Shaun Hill as the team’s starter for eight games, leading the club to a 3-5 record in those games. He compiled 2,001 passing yards to go along with a 63.4% completion rate and an 85.1 passer rating, earning him a low-end ($1.542MM) RFA tender from St. Louis.
However, Davis didn’t make the cut when the Rams reduced their roster to 53 players, and days later, he was quickly scooped up by the Browns. Having been in Cleveland for less than a month, Davis has clearly made an impression on the club’s staff to earn a two-year extension, though it’s not clear how much of his new deal is guaranteed.
Interestingly, Davis’ extension comes during a time when general manager Ray Farmer is still serving a four-week suspension. Presumably, before Farmer began serving the four-game ban earlier this month, he outlined the potential parameters of a new contract for the ex-Rams quarterback, since it’s hard to imagine interim GM Bill Kuharich deciding on his own to get something done mere days before Farmer returns.
With Davis under contract through 2017, it gives the Browns some flexibility at the quarterback position going forward. McCown’s deal also runs through ’17, and Cleveland holds Manziel’s rights through his fifth-year option season in 2018. However, if the team decides to move on from any of the three quarterbacks during the next year or two, it can do so knowing it still has two viable options locked up.