The Scoop: Drew Henson, Lennie Friedman

Message boards and blogs have been buzzing today about stories reported about the Browns and two players: QB Drew Henson and C Lennie Friedman. Were either of these stories accurate? John Taylor gets the facts behind two stories about the Browns that have had Browns fans buzzing...

Quite a furor was created late last night when it was reported on ESPN's news crawler that the contract of center Lennie Friedman had been voided.

That report was indeed correct.  The Browns did in fact void Friedman's contract, making the offensive lineman a free agent.

However, Friedman remains—and will remain for the foreseeable future—a member of the Cleveland Browns, The OBR has learned.

According to Friedman's agent, Neal Schwartz, the move by the Browns to cut Friedman was simply a technicality and his client re-signed with the club shortly after being "released".

"When Lennie came to Cleveland (in a trade with the Bears), he was under what is called a Minimum Salary Benefit Contract," Schwartz explained.

"Because of the type of contract he was under, the Browns couldn't do a simple renegotiation.  He needed to be cut—basically making him a free agent—then re-signed almost immediately by the Browns."

When asked why there was even any need for a new contract in the first place, the agent had a simple answer: protection.

"The Browns wanted to add additional contract language as a form of injury protection after all of the problems they've had at the position," Schwarz said.

"The economics of the contract did not change.  He will still be compensated the same.  It was just done as protection if, God forbid, Lennie was injured."

Schwartz said that the new deal is for one year, with the original contract calling for a base salary of $585,000 according to the NFLPA's website.

After Friedman's name hit the waiver wire, Schwartz said, seven teams attempted to contact him regarding the veteran's availability.

*****

The Browns acquired Friedman last week from the Bears in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick, with the condition being that Friedman makes the final 53-man roster.

 

The cut—then quick re-signing—in no way affects the trade, unless Friedman were to be released by Sept. 3.  As that is highly, highly unlikely, the trade remains in effect and Cleveland will give Chicago a seventh-round pick in next year's draft.

*****

This past weekend, there was a report in the Ann Arbor News stating that the Browns, among others, would have an interest in Drew Henson once the quarterback cleared waivers.

According to two sources, that rumored interest is news to both sides of the equation.

A source close to Henson tells The OBR that no member of the Browns front office or coaching staff has been in contact with any member of Henson's representation or Henson himself.  Calls to Henson's agent, Tom Condon, have yet to be returned.

The source went on to add that the Browns would not be a team likely to be interested in the Michigan product.

And, conveniently enough, a league source agrees.

"That would be doubtful," the source told The OBR when asked if the club has or would have any interest in Henson.

"To the best of my knowledge, no calls have been made (from the Browns) to anyone in (Henson's) camp."

As to the reasons for the apparent lack of interest on the part of the Browns, it's really two-fold in nature.

First, and most importantly, if the Browns are to go away from Ken Dorsey and/or Derek Anderson as the backup options to Charlie Frye—and that's currently a subject of intense debate inside the Browns' Berea headquarters and a whole other story—it will be for a veteran with more experience than Henson.

"Why would you give up on Dorsey in favor of Henson?" the source, who apparently has selective memory when it comes to the play of Dorsey, asked.

"If Dorsey's gonna be replaced, it'll be somebody with a helluva lot more starts than Ken's (sic) 12…  And why would he even be brought in to replace Anderson?  The (coaching) staff likes his potential alot."

Henson has appeared in seven games and started one in his first two seasons in the NFL, all back in his rookie season of 2004.

Dorsey has started 10 games and appeared in 11 during his first three years, while Anderson, in his second season, has yet to see any regular-season action.

The second reason is relatively simple and obvious: economics.

Simply put, Henson will likely be seeking too much money for the Browns' tastes and needs.


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