There are obviously a lot of rumors flying around these days about Jay Cutler being traded and the Browns being a third team involved. Most of these rumors revolve around Brady Quinn going to the Broncos, and the Browns receiving at least a first round pick from the other team involved.
Much has been discussed about the relative quality of players involved, however, this post will address a different perspective on why the Browns may not get involved in the trade: guaranteed money.
The most likely player to the leave the Browns in a three-way trade is Brady Quinn. However, if he's not traded and he beats out Anderson to become the Browns starter, he's scheduled to make about $4.9 million this year if he takes 70 percent of the Browns' snaps.
I think it’s likely that the Browns will keep Anderson as their No. 2 QB just in case if a trade isn't made.
First, as mentioned above, the Browns will likely acquire the Jets' No. 1 pick (17th overall). Last year Gosder Cherilus was picked in that slot and was given $8.9 in guaranteed money.
Second, the Browns will likely need to acquire a legitimate No. 2 QB to back-up Anderson. For comparison sake I’ll use Chris Simms, whose contract will pay him about $3 million in guaranteed money.
Thus, in being involved in the Cutler trade, the Browns will likely need to pay about $7 million more in guaranteed money (3 + 8.9 - 4.9 = 7). For comparison sake, that’s the same amount of guaranteed money that the No. 25 pick last year, CB Mike Jenkins (Cowboys), received.
That difference may not seem like a lot, especially if you’re certain that you can add another starter to the team. However, keep in mind two more factors. First, the Browns had just five players make over $7 million last year (Joe Thomas, Corey Williams, Anderson, Shaun Rogers, and Eric Steinbach), four of whom have been all pros. The fifth, Williams, will make $5.9 million next year.
While most will argue that Williams and Anderson are overpaid, the Browns were certain (except for injury) that they weren’t paying someone who would only start three games during the year (the same amount that Mike Jenkins played for the Cowboys). Thus, this new player will be paid a lot of money without the same level of understanding of their ability to play in the NFL as the other players.
Second, the Browns will almost certainly have to pay the No. 5 overall pick over $23 million in guaranteed money next year (equivalent to Glenn Dorsey’s salary). Adding an additional $7 million to that number (bringing it to $30 million) may be cost prohibitive for the Browns. That, in addition to other reasons, may be why Cutler doesn’t get traded with Cleveland’s help.