Though we’ve been very critical of Browns coach Eric Mangini, we were inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on the question of whether he parked quarterback Brady Quinn on the bench in order to ensure that Quinn doesn’t unlock $10.9 million in 2010 and 2011 salary escalators by taking 70 percent of the snaps on offense this season.
We were inclined to give Mangini the benefit of the doubt, even though he clung to Derek Anderson and his single-digit completion performances until it became mathematically impossible for Quinn to hit the trigger.
But in a lengthy interview with Clark Judge of CBSSports.com, Mangini offered up a suggestion so outlandish that we believe Mangini is trying too hard to cover up the reality that Mangini kept Quinn on the bench because it will be much easier to trade Quinn after the season if he hasn’t triggered those future salary obligations.
Judge asked Mangini about the possibility that Quinn was benched due to the escalator clause. And here’s what Mangini said.
“No, absolutely not. With all the
different contracts. . . . I don’t know what the incentives are. But that
wouldn’t make my decision [even if I did].”
There’s no good way out of this one for Mangini. He’s lying, or he’s incompetent.
Either way, it’s a dangerous strategy for a guy working for an owner who’s looking for any way to fire people who need to go without having to pay the balance of his contract.