The Cleveland Browns have signed Senior Vice President and General Manager Phil Savage to a three-year contract extension through the 2012 season, the club announced today. Savage is entering his fourth season as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. Savage originally joined the Browns on Jan. 6, 2005, after spending the previous nine seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.
"I am extremely grateful to Randy Lerner and the Browns' organization for giving me an opportunity as a first time GM back in January 2005 and now to continue with this extension through the 2012 season," said Savage. "We have worked very hard to turn the Browns around, on and off the field, and our team is looking forward to the 2008 season. From a personal standpoint, I want to also thank the many Browns' fans who have been so supportive during my time here."
Since joining the Browns, Savage has overhauled the Browns roster which led to last season's 10-6 record, including a franchise-best seven home wins. In addition, six Browns players were named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster, including 2005 first-round draft choice WR Braylon Edwards and 2007 first-round draft selection LT Joe Thomas.
At the conclusion of the 2007 season, Savage outlined three specific needs for the organization and by the beginning of free agency fulfilled each need. First he resigned QB Derek Anderson to a long-term contract and second he resigned RB Jamal Lewis to a long-term deal. Thirdly, he addressed the defensive line by acquiring both DE Corey Williams and DT Shaun Rogers via trades with Green Bay and Detroit respectfully. In addition, he also added depth to the wide receiver and offensive line positions by signing WR Donte' Stallworth and OL Rex Hadnot in free agency.
With four drafts under his direction, Savage and his staff have solidified the roster with key first round selections including WR Braylon Edwards (3rd overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft, LB Kamerion Wimbley (13th overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft and LT Joe Thomas (3rd overall) and QB Brady Quinn (22nd overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft. In this year's 2008 NFL Draft, Savage and his staff were aggressive in moving up into the fourth round to select LB Beau Bell from UNLV and TE Martin Rucker of Missouri.
Beyond first round selections, Savage and his staff have been able to find value throughout the draft rounds including late round finds with LB Leon Williams (4th round), RB Jerome Harrison (5th round) and FB Lawrence Vickers (6th round) in the 2006 Draft, and DB Brandon McDonald (5th round) in the 2007 NFL Draft. In addition, undrafted rookie free agents have made major contributions with the team including Pro Bowl special teams ace Joshua Cribbs and contributions from FB Charles Ali.
Building the Browns roster goes beyond the draft. Savage and his staff have been able to build the roster via free agency, trades and waiver claims. Through free agency, Savage has signed LB Willie McGinest, WR Joe Jurevicius and P Dave Zastudil in 2006 and LG Eric Steinbach, RB Jamal Lewis, DE Robaire Smith and DT Shaun Smith in 2007 and WR Donte' Stallworth in 2008. His trades have brought C Hank Fraley in 2006 and DE Corey Williams and DT Shaun Rogers in 2008. With waiver claims, Savage has claimed QB Derek Anderson via waivers from Baltimore in 2005 and DB Daven Holly via waivers from Chicago in 2006.