Could Browns quarterback Derek Anderson be playing not only for the right to keep the teams starting job over rookie Brady Quinn, but for a load of cash in 2008? That very well could be the case with Anderson, who quietly has put together a very productive 2007 season for the surprising 3-3 Browns. Anderson is going to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, and with some of the teams with QB disarray like the Jets and the Bears, Anderson could very well be at the top of their list.
Following the win over the Dolphins Sunday at Browns Stadium, Anderson’s numbers are better than just about anyone expected. He has thrown for 14 touchdowns, 8 picks, and has completed close to 55 percent of his passes. He also has shown a killer instinct at home, as the Browns after dropping a game to the Steelers opening day at Browns Stadium 34-7, have been impressive in wins over the Bengals, Ravens and Dolphins, and in all three games Anderson has played well.
Restricted free agent means that the Browns would have a shot to bring back Anderson, but considering they realize that Quinn is their future, would they? If a team such as the Bears, who are trying to make due with Brian Griese and Rex Grossman, gives Anderson a large mulit-year offer, would the Browns seriously consider matching it? Don’t also forget the Browns would get some sort of draft compensation if Anderson goes elsewhere in 2008.
The quandary that the team has actually found themselves in is that they probably didn’t think that Anderson would play this good this season, and thought they would be able to get Quinn some playing time once the season was lost. Now the team finds itself at .500 at the bye, and with the next two games against the winless Rams on the road and the punchless Seahawks at home, the Browns could be 5-3 heading into a November 11th rematch with the Steelers.
If they let Anderson go, it would be a signal that they want to groom Quinn for the future by playing him and basically letting fans know the 2008 season might not be all that good. If they resign Anderson, it shows they want to win – now. It will be an interesting offseason in Cleveland indeed if the man known as “DA” continues to play as well as he has the last few weeks.