By SCOTT PETRAK
BEREA â€” Brady Quinn might want to start loosening up his right arm.
Browns general manager Phil Savage said Thursday he hoped quarterback Derek Anderson would be back, but is preparing for life without him.
The Browns offered Anderson a three-year deal â€” reportedly worth $20 million, with $10 million guaranteed â€” and were waiting Thursday night for him to reject or accept it.
The Browns also tendered Anderson a one-year offer, so he would receive $2.562 million in 2008 if he doesnâ€™t accept a contract from another team.
Savage said if Anderson declined the three-year offer and became a restricted free agent at midnight this morning, itâ€™s unlikely heâ€™ll be back.
â€œIf heâ€™s willing to take the walk out there, thereâ€™s got to be some indication thereâ€™s something at the end of the rainbow,â€ Savage said.
If Anderson signs with another team, Savage said the Browns likely wouldnâ€™t match the offer. Instead, theyâ€™d take the first- and third-round draft picks theyâ€™d receive as compensation and turn to Quinn as the starter.
â€œIf Derek wants to be a Brown and really wants to stay here in Cleveland and play with the players that are on our team, then he can do that rather easily,â€ Savage said. â€œWe can look in the mirror and know we put a strong offer out there.
â€œBut heâ€™s earned the right to get to this point because of his play last year. Weâ€™re in a good situation either way.â€
Savage said the teamâ€™s offer isnâ€™t an ultimatum, but it would be impacted by the onset of free agency. He said the Browns have worked out a budget including Andersonâ€™s three-year deal and another without it.
The Browns are desperate for help on the defensive line and at linebacker, and Savage expects to target them immediately in free agency. NFL.com reported the Browns are an estimated $37 million under the $116 million salary cap.
The Browns could entertain trade offers for Anderson for less than the first- and third-round picks, but Savage said he informed Andersonâ€™s agents they wonâ€™t, â€œbecause we value the player.â€
Anderson, 24, threw 29 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions last season and went 10-5 after taking over as the starter in Week 2. He threw for 3,787 yards, was sacked just 14 times and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate.
Quinn, from Notre Dame, was limited to just eight passes as a rookie after the Browns traded their first-round draft pick in 2008 to take him with the No. 22 pick last April. He would remain the backup if Anderson agrees to the three-year deal.
â€œThereâ€™s a comfort level that Brady can walk in, administrate the offense and do even more than that,â€ Savage said. â€œHe does have some mobility, is physically strong and has a good arm.
â€œThe mental part is going to end up being his greatest strength. He is a student of the game. He really works at it. He has all the key ingredients to be successful in the league.â€
Savage said if Anderson leaves, the Browns would be in the market for an experienced backup.
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