It's never easy saying goodbye.
Cleveland Browns fans are still upset about the firing of Paul Brown.
They cry over the trade of Paul Warfield.
Some hold a grudge toward Bill Belichick for his ignominious release of Bernie Kosar.
They love the team in the burnt umber and seal brown, and they want to keep every single player with an ounce of talent, because they just know that their team is "this close" to winning, as long as—cross your fingers and say a prayer—nobody screws it up.
But Browns fans, it's time to screw it up.
It's time to seriously consider trading Derek Anderson. Here's five reasons why.
1. Anderson is iffy at best.
Derek Anderson had a terrific season. He threw for a whopping 29 touchdowns and built excellent rapport with Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow. But he was also maddeningly ineffective at times.
His 19 interceptions were often thrown right into the teeth of the defense. A few were such momentum killers that you could actually see the flags inside the stadium whipping around their flagpoles from all the air leaving the building.
His 2007 stats make him look great on paper, but game time was often a different story. Even the Cleveland media began to refer to him as Good DA and Bad DA, as in "if you want to win with the Good DA, you have to be willing to lose with the Bad DA."
2. Anderson is the Browns' most tradeable commodity.
Like most teams on the verge of becoming a playoff contender, the Browns have more decent players in starting positions than great players. And also like most teams on the verge of becoming playoff contenders, the Browns are limited in their depth.
Except at quarterback.
While Brady Quinn is an unproven talent, and could even be (dare we say it?) a bust, he is a player the Browns felt confident enough to trade away a first-round pick to nab. Why would they do that if they weren't planning on working him into the starting lineup?
Quarterback is a position of strength for the Browns when it comes to the trade game. And if the team plans to only keep one, they should get something for the other.
That other is Anderson.
3. Anderson's value will never be higher.
How many teams covet a pro quarterback with respectable stats, decent arm strength and youth?
Can you say, plenty?
Trading Anderson now, with more good than bad on his tally sheet, would be the best course of action. He can't make his trade value better, but he can make it worse.
4. The Browns QB should not be the focus of the offense.
Cleveland is a bad-weather team. It has always been a bad-weather team. And yet, every winter when the wind whips in over Lake Erie and the thermometer plummets, the Browns still try to pass the ball.
My advice? Run. Run a lot. If you plan on winning and losing on the arm of your quarterback in November and December in Cleveland, well...lots of luck.
5. Defense still wins championships.
Many fans point to the second game of the season last year while defending Derek Anderson's ability. And while it is true that he threw a basketful of touchdowns in that game, he really had no choice.
Until the Browns get a defense that can stop the run and keep opposing wide receivers in front of them, they will struggle in the playoffs.
And the fastest way to strengthen the defense is through a trade.
So there you have it. Is it the wisest course of action to trade one of the team's best players?
Maybe. Maybe not. You tell me.