Things are apparently not going well as the Browns attempt to sign Derek Anderson to a long-term deal. According to reports, Anderson recently turned down a 3-year offer worth $16 million. The QB is looking for a five-year deal, which is longer than the Browns really want to go. Anderson, if he is not signed, becomes a restricted free agent on Feb. 29. The Browns have several options: They could trade Anderson while he’s in free agency the same way the Falcons traded Matt Schaub last year. They could franchise him, which would mean paying him the average of the top 5 QBs in the league (unlikely they would be willing to fork over that kind of dough). They could hit him with the transition tag which seems more likely. Or they could just let him become a free agent and watch him walk, ushering in the Brady Quinn era in Cleveland.
Enter the Vikings, at least from a speculative stand-point. What might their interest in Anderson be? Brad Childress has already indicated, somewhat uncertainly, that he means for Tarvaris Jackson to be the starter next season. However, if Anderson goes into free agency without a transition or franchise tag on him, would the Vikes pursue him? Or would they try to make a trade for him, should the Browns choose to go that route? I don’t know if they’d be willing to give up the draft picks necessary to land Anderson should he be tagged. If he’s transitioned, would they try some more poison pill shenanigans like the ones they used to get Steve Hutchinson? And another question…would Anderson even want to play for the Vikings, knowing they have a young QB they’re trying to develop? It would be a situation almost like Cleveland for Anderson, being the #1 guy with someone else waiting to take his job. Of course, Jackson is not being paid as much as Brady Quinn, so there would be much less urgency about moving him into the starting role. Plus, if Anderson played well, it would be awfully hard for Chilly to justify moving him out after just one season. And we know Chilly is up against it this year – it’s playoffs or goodbye for him. If he has any doubt in his mind about T-Jack’s ability to deliver, then he has to go out and get another QB. Anderson is clearly the best person out there, when you combine performance plus youth.
We’ll have to keep an eye on this one.