Rich's Rant: Trade Winds Not Dying Just Yet

Along with monitoring his daily Metamucil intake, the esteemed Mr. Passan has trade scenarios on his mind. Specifically, deals that could still go down with a certain Mile High city who may have Quinn squarely in their sites.

Having trouble getting the Browns-Denver Broncos pre-college draft collaboration out of my mind. Fixated on it.

For some strange reason, I believe something will go down between the two teams prior to the draft. The mind boggles with all the possibilities.

The Browns' quarterback situation has not yet reached "resolved" status.

Why do I get the feeling coach Eric Mangini's training-camp scenario of a quarterback battle between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson will not take place?

The guess here is one of them will report to a different training camp by then. And the most likely candidate is Quinn.

Mangini denied a report out of Washington last week that the Browns were involved with the Broncos and Redskins in a three-way deal during the Jay Cutler drama last week and that Quinn was the central figure. What else did you expect him to say?

How would you like to be Quinn and watch your coach admit that, yeah, I talked to Denver about trading you. Of course, Mangini is going to deny it. I don't buy it. Don't forget, this is the lying season around the National Football League.

In Washington, however, the Redskins avoided a polygraph test by admitting Jason Campbell was offered to the Broncos in an attempt to get Cutler and will have to deal with their displeased quarterback. The Broncos, it was reported, preferred Quinn.

The key now is how long the Broncos will stick to the notion that Kyle Orton will be more than a serviceable quarterback. Any quarterback in Denver, where John Elway carved out an iconic career, plays under unbelievable pressure, although Cutler was making some headway before his snit earned a ticket to Chicago.

The Broncos cannot actually believe Orton, who seems more like a throw-in on the huge trade that sent Cutler packing last week, is the answer at quarterback.

There's got to be more than they're letting on. With the college draft coming up the final weekend of the month and two pretty good quarterbacks available, it wouldn't surprise to see the Broncos position themselves for one of them.

One of the possible scenarios does not involve Quinn.

If the Broncos do, indeed, have plans to grab either Mark Sanchez or Matthew Stafford, they've got to move up in the draft to do so. It's unlikely both will be there by the time the Broncos draft at No. 12.

The Detroit Lions sure could use a quarterback with the first pick. Rumors out of Seattle indicate the Seahawks, who draft just ahead of the Browns, would not be averse to drafting Matt Hasselbeck's successor. And Jacksonville, at No. 8, isn't exactly thrilled with David Garrard.

And that's where the Browns, sitting pretty with the fifth pick overall, reside in a position of strength.

If the Broncos really want to move up to grab their quarterback of the future, Cleveland very well could be the portal through which it can be accomplished.

It could be achieved in any number of ways.

The Browns can play hardball and ask for both of Denver's first-round picks, Nos. 12 and 18, for the No. 5 selection. That, of course, would be met with an immediate rejection. Nice try, though.

If the Browns would be willing to part with the second of their round two picks (No. 50), however, that could be a deal maker.

But if the Browns were to swap their first pick for, say, Denver's 12th overall, a second-rounder (No. 48) and a fourth-rounder (future or otherwise), that would work. It would give the Browns four of the first 50 selections.

If it's Mangini's plan to rebuild the Browns through the college lottery, this would be a significant first step since he inherited just four draft picks when he took over. Plenty of holes can be filled on the first day, especially on defense.

A lot also depends on how certain Denver coach Josh McDaniels is that he can not only work with Orton, but turn him into someone significantly more productive than he was in Chicago.

The young Broncos coach is saying all the right things with regard to his new quarterback. "Kyle Orton has won in this league," he says, calling him "tough, smart and a good decision maker" and gushing how "excited" he is that Orton was part of the deal.

All very nice, but that stuff tumbles out of the public relations machine like cotton candy out of an amusement park machine. McDaniels has got to say that. That's his way of justifying the trade to Broncos fans upset with Cutler's departure.

The question is: Does he really, in his heart of hearts, believe that? Behind closed doors, in private conversation, does he espouse the same platitudes? The guess here is, uh, no.

If McDaniels is really as close to Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis as many believe, then the possibility of landing Quinn in Denver remains viable.

But suppose the Broncos aren't willing to make any deal with the Browns, what then? There are other alternatives.

The New York Jets have no one substantive to replace Brett Favre and might want a shot at a quarterback. Anderson, whose talents would fit in nicely with Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's stretch offense, would be the likely candidate for departure.


In a semi-related item, if the Broncos decide to leap over the Browns and ship their two first-round selections to Kansas City at No. 3 (over Seattle) in order to get their quarterback, that most likely drops linebacker Aaron Curry into the Browns' laps.


And what position needs the most help for the Browns? Linebacker, of course, and Curry is the best 'backer on the board. So it is possible, not necessarily probable, the Browns could wind up with their linebacker without making a move.


The only question there is whether the Broncos would be willing to surrender two high picks to a division rival.


There are other possibilities, some of which border on the ridiculous, that will not be mentioned at this time.


Besides, I've got a headache.


Draft day can't come soon enough.

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