Cleveland made what it felt was the best decision for it to win now, which is why it is turning to quarterback Brady Quinn. But changing quarterbacks now, after the midway point of the season, could have financial implications.
Quinn needed to play in 55 percent of the Browns offensive snaps this season, and 55 percent again next season, to earn close to $11 million in contract escalators. Now, while Quinn will struggle to play in 55 percent of the plays this season, he will have to play in 70 percent of the Browns plays next season to earn the same near $11 million in escalators.
Most around the league believe this hardly drove the timing of the Browns decision, that it had little or nothing to do with it now. But it is interesting that the move came now, before Cleveland’s ninth game of the season.
But there are more interesting financial decisions awaiting the Browns. Derek Anderson has a $5 million roster bonus due on the 15th day of the league year in 2009 -– sometime in mid March. If the Browns traded Anderson between the end of the season and the 14th day of the league year, they would have to eat $4.6 million against the salary cap next year. But if they don’t trade Anderson, they would be on the hook for a $9 million salary cap charge.
How Quinn plays in the second half of the season could well dictate how the Browns handle their quarterback situation in the off-season.