Taylor: Circling the Browns

It's time to get to the real info behind the rumors surrounding the Cleveland Browns. John Taylor has gotten the very latest on Bill Parcells, Romeo Crennel and the Dolphins. Also: What's the real level of interest in Derek Anderson around the NFL? Which NFC free agent looks like a good fit in Cleveland?

The "RAC-to-Miami" rumors, which first appeared on ProFootballTalk.com late last week, simply will not go away.

In fact, if anything, the rumors are gaining momentum.  

A source close to Bill Parcells has told The OBR that, as of this morning, the new Dolphins executive vice president of football operations has yet to make a decision on the fate of current head coach Cam Cameron.  However, if Parcells should decide to axe the first-year coach, he will make an attempt to go after Cleveland Browns head coach Romeo Crennel.

As of now, a Browns source told The OBR, no one associated with Parcells or the Dolphins has contacted the Browns regarding Crennel.

Crennel has two years remaining on his original five-year contract, but the Browns would "possibly entertain talk to let Crennel" out of the remainder of his deal, the Browns source said.

As noted in this space before, any "entertaining" done by the Browns regarding Crennel and the Dolphins would likely be directly proportional to the compensation being offered by Parcells.

"(Parcells) likes (Crennel), but he doesn't ‘overall number one' like him," the source said, referring to the Dolphins owning the first pick in the 2008 draft.

---With the free-agent season set to begin in less than less than three months, one name to keep an eye on as he pertains to the Browns is Chicago's Bernard Berrian.

The wide receiver turned down a contract offer containing $7.5-8 million in guaranteed money over the summer, and a source close to the 6-1, 185-pound receiver told The OBR that he will likely take his chances on the open market.

The source noted there are "already whispers that the Browns will take a long look" at Berrian.

And just what type of numbers is Berrian looking for?  Dallas re-signed Patrick Crayton to a four-year, $14 million contract—with $6 million in guaranteed money—late last month, and it's believed that Berrian will look to at least get that much in free agency.

---On Nov. 28, Browns general manager Phil Savage strongly hinted that he would slap the highest tender on Derek Anderson, telling reporters at a press conference that the Browns would likely "be most comfortable with that 1-and-3 scenario rather than doing something less than that."

However, there is a growing sentiment around the league that, if Savage makes good on that tack, there's a very distinct possibility no team will tender an offer to the restricted free agent.

"I just don't know that there's going to be the market (for Anderson) that a lot of people think," a league personnel type told The OBR.  "There's a lot of film out there on Anderson now, and that could actually hinder his value despite the success he's had."

When asked to explain, the source stated that "all of the warts are out there, in black and white, and teams have seen how inconsistent he can be from not only game-to-game, but from drive-to-drive."

Another source feels that a first and third tender on Anderson would be a smart play on Savage's part, in part based on "Savage's knowledge that no one is likely to give up a high pick for Anderson."

"Look, if he gives Anderson the high tender, and nobody is willing to bite, he'll have a relatively cheap starting QB ($2.562 million) for a season if (Brady) Quinn can't beat him out," the source said.

"If Anderson blows up (in a good way), the Browns can always work out a long-term deal with him (before hitting unrestricted free agency in 2009) or slap the franchise tag on him.  If he flames out, or if Quinn beats him out, they could always look to trade him (before the trading deadline next season) or just allow him to leave in free agency.  And all it would cost the Browns is $2.5 million, which is chump change at the (QB) position."

Like I've said before, this is an absolutely fascinating situation that is likely to make many twists and turns before reaching its conclusion.

The OBR Top Stories