GM Phil Savage recently said the Browns might give the highest tender to QB Derek Anderson when he becomes a restricted free agent at the end of the season. That means if any team signs Anderson and the Browns don’t match, Cleveland would receive that team’s first and third round draft picks in 2008 (assuming some other form of compensation isn’t worked out).
Alright, I’m intrigued. What quarterback-starved teams are most likely to make a play at Anderson assuming the Browns don’t just hold on to him? “Most likely” rules out teams like the Jets, Bills, Chiefs, Dolphins and Panthers by the way, although they certainly might be in the QB-market as well.
1. Chicago. If the Bears go 7-9 or 8-8 and land in the middle of the first round, it’s highly feasible they would give up the necessary draft picks to land Anderson. Rex Grossman becomes a free agent at the end of the year and Brian Griese isn’t a long-term answer, so Chicago might be the most logical fit.
2. Minnesota. First and foremost, in order for the Vikings to make a play for Anderson, Brad Childress would have to admit the huge project that is Tarvaris Jackson might not be worth it. Childress fought hard this off-season to retain the three highly ineffective quarterbacks he currently has the roster, so it might be a stretch to assume he’ll go along with the idea of acquiring Anderson. However, with two great lines on both sides of the ball and a superstar young running back, Anderson would probably make Minnesota an instant contender, assuming they got him some wide receivers, of course.
3. Atlanta. The Falcons are in desperate need of a young franchise quarterback after you know who, did you know what. Yet, assuming they would be drafting in the top 10 next year, would they be willing to give up two high draft picks to acquire Anderson? Not only that, but would Anderson be worth passing on QB prospect Brian Brohm in the draft, the same Brian Brohm Bobby Petrino coached at Louisville?
I’ll rule out the Ravens, because while they would definitely be in the market for a young quarterback, Savage isn’t stupid enough to trade within the division. Two sleeper candidates, however, would be Detroit and Tampa. Both teams currently have aging quarterbacks in Jon Kitna and Jeff Garcia, respectively, and both would likely be drafting in the back half of each round, so a first and a third might be worth giving up.