Two years ago, Browns quarterback Brady Quinn missed ten days of camp as his agent and the team haggled over an appropriate contract.
The problem was that Quinn slid into the twenties on draft day, and that he wanted to get himself in position to make much more than his slot would otherwise dictate, if he were to become the week-in, week-out starter.
In the end, Quinn inked a deal that tied significant dollars to playing time. Specifically, if he participated in 55 percent of the snaps as a rookie or in his second year, his 2010 salary would escalate by $5 million.
Also, if he had participated in 35 percent of the offensive snaps as a rookie or 45 percent in his second season, Quinn would have earned a $1.32 million incentive, via what is generally known as the “log” bonus, because earning it is as easy as falling off a log.
As Quinn has learned, it’s not quite as easy as falling off a log.
He failed to satisfy the threshold in either season, and so he needs to take at least 45 percent of the snaps in 2009 to earn the $1.32 million.
More importantly, Quinn now needs to participate in at least 70 of the offensive snaps in order to trigger the $5 million escalator for 2010.
So with so much money riding on whether Quinn or Derek Anderson becomes the starting quarterback for the Browns in 2009, will that be an issue in deciding whether Quinn or Anderson wins the job?
It shouldn’t be a significant factor. But if all things are otherwise equal, it would make plenty of sense to give the ball to Anderson — and to save the $6.32 million.
We also wonder whether the Browns might consider using a revolving door at quarterback this year, with each player getting snaps in the same game, like the Cardinals did in 2007 with Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner, before Leinart was lost for the balance of the season with a broken collarbone.
Regardless, up to $6.32 million is riding on whether Quinn is the guy in 2009, and the issue could become an intriguing subplot for a Browns team that, based on last night’s performance against the Packers, might not be all that much better in this year regardless of whether Quinn or Anderson or anyone else is lining up under center.