|Pocket protection: QB Derek Anderson agrees to 3-year deal, stays with Browns|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 29 February 2008 15:26|
Only a few hours after the quarterback hit the free-agent market, Anderson agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Browns, who were prepared to move on without the Pro Bowl alternate.
The deal is reportedly worth $24 million and includes over $13 million in guaranteed money.
Anderson officially became a restricted free agent at 12:01 a.m. Friday, when other teams were allowed to make contract offers for the 24-year-old. But by 5 a.m. his agents had worked out a deal with general manager Phil Savage for him to stay in Cleveland. The sides had been working on a three-year, $20 million deal and had been negotiating for weeks.
If Anderson had signed with another team, Cleveland would have received first- and third-round draft picks as compensation. The Browns would have also turned their high-powered offense over to Brady Quinn, their QB in waiting.
In addition to getting a deal done with Anderson on the opening day of free agency, the Browns acquired defensive tackle Corey Williams from Green Bay for a second-round draft pick in April.
The Browns then signed Williams to a six-year deal. Financial terms were not immediately available.
The 6-foot-4, 313-pound Williams, who tied a career high with seven sacks last season, was designated as the Packers' franchise player last week.
The Browns desperately need some defensive linemen as Robaire Smith and Shaun Smith are the only ones under contract.
On Thursday, Savage said if Anderson had gotten another offer, the Browns probably wouldn't have been able to keep him. That would have made Quinn, the former Notre Dame star who only threw eight passes as a rookie, the starter.
Now, the Browns have two quality quarterbacks under 25, and just because they've signed Anderson, that doesn't mean they won't consider trading him. Several teams are shopping for a quarterback, and will likely inquire about Anderson.
The former backup threw 29 TD passes last season and led the Browns to 10 wins. He'll enter training camp as the prohibitive favorite to win the starter's job, but Anderson will be pushed hard by Quinn, a fan favorite whom the Browns feel can become a star.
Cleveland gave up a first-round pick in this year's draft to select Quinn.
Despite having a much stronger arm and hair-trigger release, Anderson failed to beat out Charlie Frye in training camp last summer. However, after Frye played poorly in a 34-7 loss to Pittsburgh in the season opener, the Browns traded him two days later to Seattle and elevated Anderson to their starter.
The former sixth-round pick of Baltimore in 2005 threw five TDs in his first start against Cincinnati and had the Browns in the playoff hunt until December. But Anderson had his worst game the second time he faced the Bengals, throwing four interceptions in a loss that cost Cleveland a postseason spot.
Anderson's 29 TDs were one shy of Brian Sipe's club record set in 1980.