Cleveland's First Offseason Priority: Trade Derek Anderson

Bob DaBuckeyeCorrespondent IFebruary 8, 2008

The Cleveland Browns made tremendous strides this past year.

Not even the diehards in the Dawg Pound would have predicted a year like we witnessed. Improvements were made but must continue.

Looking at the Browns' roster, we find we do not have a surplus of players with a high trade value at any position other than quarterback. We have no No. 1 pick this season due to last year's trade for Brady Quinn. The Browns have too many holes on the defensive side of the ball to keep both QBs.

One must go.

Quinn is the future of the Browns for better or worse. He is the local kid drafted by his hometown team. Call him the NFL version of King James. However, unlike the King, the jury is out on his talent level.

What would he bring in trade if he was offered up? Maybe a first rounder.

Derek Anderson is coming off a Pro Bowl-caliber season and according to NFL guidelines, would bring a first and third round pick to Cleveland from any team that signed him as the Browns tendered him an offer.

If I were an NFL team and had to trade for one of the two QBs on the Browns, I would go after Anderson.

Granted he only has one year under his belt but he showed what he can do to GMs around the league. Quinn has not and may not be a better pro than Anderson or three or more of the QBs coming to the NFL in 2008. Is Quinn better than the incoming QB class featuring QBs from Matt Ryan, Brian Brohm, Colt Brennan, or Chad Henne?

Anderson could continue to improve or he could remain at the level he played at last year. He is a QB good enough to handle a team but he doesn't have the ability to rise up to the next level and elevate his team. Only Baltimore and a few other teams have won SB's with "Caretaker QBs."

The biggest weakness the Browns have right now is a lack of good young players on defense. Yes, free agency will provide a chance at bringing in help, but a youthful infusion of talent is needed. We don't need a group of past-their-prime, one-year stop gaps being brought in.

The best way to improve the defense would be to trade Anderson and use the first and third round picks we would receive along with our second and third to draft four defensive players.

Could trading Anderson be a mistake? Yes.

Is it worth the gamble to speed up the Browns development? Yes.

Keeping BQ on the bench for another year will only lower his trade value. Our O-line is a strength and would be able to protect a young, inexperienced QB better than in any year since the team's rebirth.

Note to Phil Savage: Make the call and make the trade. Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, Miami and a few other teams will listen.