At this point, it’s all speculation. But there are plenty of reasons to believe that quarterback Derek Anderson will not be playing for the Browns in 2008. For one thing, the Browns are willing to listen to offers for the quarterback that led the team to a 10-6 finish, just short of the playoffs, and threw for 29 touchdowns, one TD off the franchise single-season record. Here are a few other reasons why:
- There are a number of teams looking to improve at the quarterback position, many of whom have a high draft pick. Why is this important? Anderson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Browns can match any offer a team gives to him. In turn, that team would have to trade its first and third round picks for the quarterback. As of right now, the Browns do not have a first round pick in the Draft (they traded it last year to Dallas in order to move up and draft Brady Quinn), so it would be important to GM Phil Savage to find a way to get back in the first round.
- The presence of Quinn is the entire reasoning for all the speculation and trade possibilities. Without him, the Browns would be going into 2008 with Anderson, no questions asked. But the situation in Cleveland is not so different than the ones in Cincinnati and San Diego a few years back. When Jon Kitna was playing well, Marvin Lewis still went with Carson Palmer, the young, unproven quarterback out of USC. And in San Diego, the Chargers let Drew Brees walk because Philip Rivers was waiting in the wings. Now it’s the Browns’ turn to hand over the offense to a young quarterback who truly has no reason to have an offense turned over to him. Imagine the griping that will take place if Quinn fails. Self-deprecation will never have such a glorious romp in the city of Cleveland at that point.
- Over the last nine games of the season, Anderson threw 12 TDs and 11 INTs. As teams began to adjust to the Browns, finally taking their offense seriously, Anderson had a difficult time adjusting himself. This was best evidenced in his performance against the hapless Bengals, as he threw four interceptions in that critical game.
- Let’s not forget the power of the fan base, either. People are chomping at the bit waiting to see Brady Quinn tap into his supposed limitless potential. This may very well have some sort of influence in Savage’s decision to move Anderson, but it would probably have more to do with getting more draft picks. One also has a good reason to believe that those draft picks will be used almost exclusively on the defense.
If the Browns do trade Derek Anderson this offseason, it would be the smart move to make. With those extra draft picks, Savage and Friends will be able to help improve what was statistically one of the worst defenses in the NFL (even though they improved slightly as the season went on). And with such a strong offensive line, there is certainly some reason to believe that Quinn will succeed.
– In other news, Browns fans can at least celebrate something at the moment. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday night, 31-29. Check out some thoughts on the game and the Steelers’ season here.
Tags: Brady Quinn Carson Palmer Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Dallas Cowboys Derek Anderson Draft Drew Brees Football Jacksonville Jaguars Jon Kitna Marvin Lewis NFL Phil Savage Philip Rivers Pittsburgh Steelers San Diego Chargers