Browns General Manager told the team's radio voice Jim Donovan earlier today that the Browns are moving closer to a contract with Derek Anderson. In the interview (done for the team's broadcast partner WKYC), Savage claimed that the team is much closer to a deal with Anderson thanks to continued talks, which started before the end of the season and have picked up in intensity in recent weeks.
While expressing confidence that the deal will get done, Savage also said he believes that a deal is unlikely until "the days before free agency".
Anderson, who could receive offers as a restricted free agent as of 12:01AM on 2/29, is looking for a multi-year contract. The Browns could tender him and retain his services for one year, but Savage maintained that the Browns would prefer a multi-year contract. "We have pretty much become focused on a three-year scenario", Savage told Donovan.
With the Browns pursuing Anderson, the question becomes what the team would do with rookie quarterback Brady Quinn. Savage made the usual comparisons to Phillip Rivers, who sat behind Drew Brees for two years, and talked about the good fortune that the Browns have in possessing two capable starting quarterbacks.
Savage also said that the team has had "some good conversations" with RB Jamal Lewis, and that he is confident that Lewis will be playing for the Browns in 2008. Savage admitted that the team would face a challenge if it didn't sign Lewis, who received most of the carries for the Browns last year.
The Browns GM anticipates that Lewis will react well even with a new contract due to his "more mature outlook" and improved off-season regimen.
With the Browns having a trait of striking quickly in free agency in recent years, Savage indicated that the same may be true in 2008. "We're hopeful of trying to get out there early", Savage said, "Particularly the players that we're focused on, if indeed they make it free agency. You want to be proactive with it. I think the Browns, the last two years, have had to be aggressive in free agency... I don't think there's any reason to not do it again this year".
LINK: Video from WKYC