Taylor: Circling The Browns

Sometimes it take John Taylor to blow away the smoke. Here's where the negotiations and other Browns free agents are really at, plus a defensive lineman who's ready to talk to the Browns as they consider Plan B following Wednesday's franchise tag extravaganza.

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Let's get this out of the way first, as it's seemingly utmost in nearly everyone's mind: the Browns and the agent for Derek Anderson are no closer to an agreement than they were a week ago. Then again, they are no further away, either. The two sides remain in contact, but little progress has been made, and hope that a new deal can be struck before the start of free agency is beginning to wane.

But, as one league source noted, "all it takes is for one side to make a concession, and that thing (negotiations) could get rolling again." Translation: if the Browns up the guaranteed money currently being offered, or if Anderson swallows a little pride, the talks will gain momentum.

One concession has seemingly been made by the Anderson camp, though, as that side of the equation is resigned to the fact that they will not be able to get more than a three-year deal out of the club. That was an early sticking point—perhaps the biggest one for a while, in fact—in the talks, but Anderson is seemingly over the initial commitment snub.

---For all of the Daven Holly fans in the audience hoping for the restricted free agent to go long-term with the Browns, you might consider not holding your breath. The valuable nickel/sometime starting cornerback has switched agents, going from Andrew Simms to Mitch Frankel. Frankel, who also represents Holly's teammates Jamal Lewis and Andra Davis, is known around the league as a tough negotiator, but he has worked well with Phil Savage and the Browns in the past.

---Speaking of Holly, a league source believes the Browns will put the second-round tender on the corner. It's a virtual certainty that neither of the two tenders that involve first-round draft picks will be used, while the lowest tender would mean a pick commensurate with the round Holly was drafted in. That would mean a seventh-round pick coming back to the Browns if he's signed to an offer sheet. The Browns value Holly more than that, thus "the second-round tender will likely be utilized."

---The agent for Darwin Walker, Albert Irby, tells The OBR that he's heard "rumors" of an interest in his client on the part of the Browns, but has yet to have any type of "official contact" with the club. That could change over the next couple of days, although Irby would not confirm that possibility. Walker, released by the Bears in a cost-cutting move, is currently on vacation in Hawaii and will not return until next week, at which point Irby and his client will sit down and map out a series of free-agent visits.

---The 49ers and Titans are among the handful of teams who are expected to pursue wide receiver Bernard Berrian if/when he makes it to free agency. The Bears are also making one last effort to keep the receiver, but most league observers expect Berrian to rebuff the overtures and test the market. Additionally, there are rumblings that Chicago is once again tossing around the idea of franchising Berrian. The deadline for designating a franchise player is today at 4:00 ET.

---The Browns have spoken with the agent for soon-to-be free agent Ethan Kelly, but a deal does not appear to be imminent. In fact, it's increasingly likely that Kelly will test the free-agent market a week from tomorrow.


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