July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

No decision on Browns’ quarterbacks


Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — Until Derek Anderson is traded, speculation will persist about when he will be.

That discussion could go on indefinitely.

Browns general manager George Kokinis and coach Eric Mangini said Friday that no decision has been made on the quarterback spot, and both said they could foresee a scenario in which Anderson and Brady Quinn spend 2009 in Cleveland.

“We definitely haven’t ruled out keeping both,” Mangini said in a meeting with team beat writers at the scouting combine.

“No question. I can definitely envision (keeping both),” Kokinis said in the media room of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Mangini has yet to hold a workout as Browns coach, but the assumption is that Quinn will be picked as the starter. He has the personality that Mangini prefers — serious, smart, careful with the ball — and was drafted in the first round in 2007.

And Quinn didn’t have the 2008 struggles that dropped Anderson from Pro Bowler to bench warmer. Of course, Quinn doesn’t have the rifle arm that still makes Anderson attractive to other teams and could allow the Browns to acquire another draft pick or two in April.

“I don’t think we’ve reached any conclusions,” Mangini said. “I spent a lot of time watching not only ‘08 but also ‘07 film. There are things I like a lot about both guys.

“I don’t think there’s a defined time on this. It’s much more important to me to let it play out and then make the best decision we can make.”

Anderson is due a guaranteed $5 million bonus March 15, so if he’s on the roster the Browns must pay it. But Kokinis and Mangini said they’re under no pressure to make a decision — or a trade — by that time.

“All positions are valuable, but when you’re talking about the quarterback position, you want to keep your options open, you don’t want to have a deadline represent what decision you’re going to make,” Kokinis said.

Kokinis said he hadn’t been approached by other teams this week about trading Anderson, but the Buccaneers, Lions, Jets and Vikings have been mentioned as possible partners.

Anderson won’t be happy as a backup and talked at the end of last season as if his time in Cleveland was done. He could request a trade, but apparently it hasn’t reached that point.

“I’ve never had that conversation with him,” Mangini said.

In the meantime, quarterback represents one of the few positions of strength and depth on the roster.

“I don’t necessarily think you have to trade if one guy beats out the other guy,” Mangini said. “Injuries happen all the time. You can never have too many good quarterbacks.”

Mangini and Kokinis touched on a variety of topics:

 The future of receiver Joe Jurevicius and offensive lineman Ryan Tucker.

Both are under contract, but Mangini wouldn’t commit to bringing them back. Jurevicius didn’t play last season after numerous operations to remove a staph infection from his knee and Tucker played just one game due to injuries.

“I like both those guys,” Mangini said. “We are evaluating all the different contracts and all the different situations.”

Kokinis said he planned to meet with their agents during the combine.

“I think they’ve got ability, some skills that can help this football team, whatever role they’re in,” he said.

 Giants running back Derrick Ward, who’s scheduled to become a free agent.

Ward listed the Browns, Cardinals and Texans as possible landing spots during an interview on Jim Rome’s radio show. Ward shared time with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw last season, but still rushed for 1,025 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s a guy that we’d look at,” Mangini said. “I can tell you, we’re looking at all the free agents.”

 An expanding role for Joshua Cribbs.

Without prompting, Mangini mentioned the possibility of trying Cribbs on defense as a safety or cornerback. He’s spent his NFL career as a kick returner/special teamer/receiver.

“We’re going to look at all the different spots with Josh,” Mangini said. “He’s a versatile guy, he can run with the ball, he can catch the ball, he covers great. I’d look at him on offense and defense.”

 Flexibility with the fifth pick.

Mangini said drafting No. 5 doesn’t restrict the Browns from selecting any position. Some teams believe the top five is too high to take a right tackle, interior offensive lineman, receiver, running back or inside linebacker.

“If you’ve got a player you really like, regardless of position, you’re open to it,” Mangini said.

He mentioned that recent free-agent contracts given to guards and safeties have closed the salary gap with tackles and cornerbacks, thereby leveling their status on draft day.

Petrak may be reached at spetrak@chroniclet.com or 440-329-7136.