Taylor: Circling The Browns

He's at it again! John Taylor comes up with the real scoop on the Browns negotiations with free agents Derek Anderson and Jamal Lewis. Why are we hearing that other local media reports on the negotiations are way off the mark? Will any other teams pursue Anderson? JT has the answers.

A source close to Cleveland Browns quarterback Derek Anderson denies a Columbus Dispatch report that the club has offered a contract containing $11 million in guaranteed money, telling The OBR that "if any of their offers contained that much in guarantees, we probably wouldn't even be having this discussion."

While the source would not give the specific amount of guaranteed money actually involved, he did intimate that it was in the $6-million range.

Additionally, the source disputes a recent report that the two sides are at a standstill in negotiations.  While admitting that the talks have slowed due mainly to the length of offers on the table—with the Browns seemingly unwilling to budge off their two- or three-year stance—the source maintains that "talks are ongoing".

"Three years is not a commitment; six years is," the source said.  "The (guaranteed) money is somewhat of an issue, but the length of the deal and their commitment to him is the larger issue."

Of course, depending on how the deal is structured, six or seven years may not be much of a commitment, either.

A league source, in response to hearing about the DA camp being upset over the length of the contract, chuckled while saying, "Yeah, it has nothing to do with guaranteed money.  Nothing at all."

Now, as to the interest that may or may not be there for Anderson should he fail to negotiate a contract and become available.  The vast majority of front-office types I've spoken with—including those in organizations who could be in the market for a QB—continue to have moderate to serious reservations about spending big money AND draft picks on the inconsistent QB.

We continue to hear that the Vikings and Bears have all but ruled out a pursuit of Anderson.  However, as one source points out, if the Browns come off what's expected to be a hard-line first- and third-round stance, then they may reconsider.  Translation?  The two clubs like him, but are not in like with him.

There are conflicting accounts from multiple sources regarding the interest Anderson would garner from the Dolphins, which likely means Parcells and the Fins could be a player for the Pro Bowl QB.  Any type of interest, though, would not involve a 2008 first-rounder as the club owns the first-overall pick in the draft.

And, with the decision to franchise Terrell Suggs if they can't work out a contract, the Ravens will likely not have the cap space to be a serious suitor.  However, if a cap-friendly deal with Suggs can be worked out, coupled with the restructuring of several deals, Baltimore may be able to make a serious run at their former QB.

While talks regarding Jamal Lewis may continue until the days before the start of free agency, both sides are optimistic that a deal can be reached before the running back hits the open market.  Sources close to both the Browns and Lewis tell The OBR that negotiations have "progressed nicely", with neither side expecting the tone of talks to change.  Interestingly, neither party would even hint at the amount of years or money being discussed.

It's believed that Lewis is seeking at least a three-year deal, while the Browns would prefer—but not insist on—a two-year deal.

The Packers continue discussions with free-agent-to-be Corey Williams, but little progress has been made and there's little hope a deal can be reached.  While Green Bay's public stance is that they would be willing to use the franchise tag on the defensive tackle, there is little chance of that actually occurring.  Sources close to the Browns have stated on numerous occasions that the club will take a "long, hard look" at the talented young lineman if/when he hits free agency… The whispers continue that the Browns will be one of a handful of teams who will be in the mix for the services of wide receiver Bernard Berrian.  The Bears have kicked around the idea of franchising Berrian, but it his "highly doubtful" that would occur… What would happen of the Browns cannot reach an agreement with Lewis?  "Don't count out a run at" Michael Turner, a source told The OBR.  A Browns source responded, "Don't count on it, either."…  The Browns have spoken to the agent for soon-to-be free agent linebacker Chaun Thompson, but nothing substantive has come out of the talks as of earlier this week.

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