Taylor: Inside Contract Hardball

While the NFL's eyes on are on Indianapolis, John Taylor has been circling the Browns, working the phones and talking to his contacts. Learn the REAL status of the DA talks, as well the inside skinny on the Browns discussions (or lack of same) with high-profile linebackers who have become available. You gotta read this one.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS AND BLOGGERS: Any material taken from this article must be properly credited to "The Orange and Brown Report". We are not "a source". Thank you - The mgmt.

 

---Here's an e-mail we received from a member of an unnamed NFL front office, relayed to you sans commentary: "The Browns have made it clear that while they'll give (Derek) Anderson the high tender, they'll be willing to work with any team interested. The gossip going around is that there won't be a contract done. A couple of teams who are on the fence are starting to make noise that they'd have more of an interest if the price is not a first and a third. The thinking is that the Browns and (Anderson's agent Mark) Humenik are too far apart on the structure to work anything out before the start of free agency."

---Word is Anderson's camp had been pushing for a deal structured very similar to the one signed by Matt Schaub last year, but with more guaranteed money.  While technically a six-year contract, Schaub's deal is in essence a three-year, $20 million deal with $7 million in guaranteed money, and contains a $10 million roster bonus—due following the third season—that would need to be exercised in order for the final three years of the deal to be realized.  If Anderson were to be offered a similar deal—again, with more guaranteed money—by the Browns, the signing would be consummated rather quickly.  However, the Browns have not budged—and will likely continue to not budge—off their three-year stance, regardless of how a six- or seven-year contract is structured.

---A source close to free-agent linebacker Al Wilson has told The OBR that while the Cleveland Browns have yet to reach out to the nine-year veteran, it's expected that will happen "at some point in the near future".  Said a source in response to the potential for interest on the part of the Browns, "(Wilson) has been discussed, but that's as far as it's gone right now."  Wilson, a five-time Pro Bowler who will turn 31 in June, missed the entire 2007 season after suffering a neck injury in December of 2006.

---If the Browns do indeed pursue wide receiver Bernard Berrian—and all signs point to that being the case—they had better be prepared to open their wallets.  The rumor making the rounds is that the receiver will be looking for a contract that contains upwards of $12 million in guaranteed money.

---The Browns are not one of the ten or so teams who have expressed an initial interest in tight end Alge Crumpler, sources close to the veteran told The OBR.

---Keep an eye on Kindal Moorehead, the soon-to-be free-agent defensive tackle of the Panthers.  The 29-year-old lineman drew more than a little interest from the Browns last off-season, but ultimately ended up back in Carolina on a one-year deal.  And for those curious as to how he would fit as a 3-4 defensive end, there would be no issues with Moorehead getting his weight up to around the 300-pound mark.  In fact, that's closer to his playing weight than the 285 pounds listed on the team's official site.

---For those who were wondering, there has been very little discussion on the part of the Browns regarding free-agent linebacker Zach Thomas.  And, yes, the same goes for Dan Morgan.

---We are still hearing that a contract extension for general manager Phil Savage will likely be completed sometime following the April draft.  As a matter of fact, we are hearing that the extension is a foregone conclusion and would have been completed by now if it were up to owner Randy Lerner.  Right now, Savage would prefer to focus solely on the draft and free agency, and deal with any talk of extension at a later time.


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