CLEVELAND - It seems as if the Browns always need to make a key decision at quarterback.
Whether it involves selecting a starter for the next game or deciding how to approach the offseason, the position is never on the back burner.
That won't change in the next offseason because of a call that has to be made on Jason Campbell, who signed a two-year contract last March. The team has an option on the contract that expires in February. How that decision is handled will speak volumes concerning the Browns' interest in selecting a quarterback in the 2014 draft.
Given a chance to start after Brandon Weeden was benched, Campbell has shown he can be effective. The Browns have won only one game in his five starts, but it's often been due to issues out of his control.
The thing that stands out is Campbell's touchdown-to-interception ratio of 9 to 3. That's a major improvement over what Weeden was providing (23-26 in the last two seasons).
The big question that has to be decided is Campbell's worth as the starter moving ahead. He'll be 32 on New Year's Eve. With a history of injuries, there are no guarantees he can stay healthy through a 16-game season.
Campbell may very well be no more than an average quarterback, which is seen in his career passer rating of 82.5 entering this season. Campbell believes he was on the verge of taking the next step three seasons ago in Oakland when he broke a collarbone in a game against the Browns.
"Being healthy is a big part of it," Campbell said. "Just feeling comfortable and being able to do things. When I had the rib injury, I didn't want to talk much about it, but it does affect the way you throw. You can't follow through on a lot of throws. You can't move and be as active as you usually are."
Campbell will probably never be considered an elite quarterback. In his longest stretch of good health as a starter (2007-09), he had passer ratings of 77.6 (2007), 84.34 (2008) and 86.4 (2009).
Where Campbell could be of service next season is as a mentor to the young quarterback the Browns could add through the draft. Campbell might be forced into the mentor role if Brian Hoyer earns the starting job out of training camp.
"That's part of my job every year," Campbell said. "You're a veteran on the quarterback team. There are a lot of young guys on this team. If they bring in a young quarterback, of course you do everything you can to mentor him and to help him. At the end of the day, we're still teammates. We're all competing for the same job, but you're also helping your teammates grow as well."
Barring a couple of wins in the final three games, the Browns will likely have a top-10 pick. At the current rate of losses (seven of the last eight), they could have a top-five pick.
Speculation is that the Browns will select one of several quarterbacks being touted in what is considered a good year for prospects. What that will ultimately mean for Campbell isn't known at this time.
"There's a lot of youth on this team," Campbell said. "You can see a lot of progress is being made from last season to this season. Talking to the guys from a year ago and how much they've grown to where they are now."
Campbell would like to be part of the plan in the future, but he might not have a say in the matter.