April 23, 2014

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Browns: Frye no longer the guy, traded to Seattle

BEREA — From starter to sideline to Seattle in 48 hours.
Charlie Frye’s childhood dream of leading the Browns ended with a jolt Tuesday when he was traded to the Seahawks for a sixth-round draft pick.
Frye spent six months winning the starting quarterback job in a ragged competition. He lost it in less than two hours with a dreadful performance in a 34-7 opening loss to the Steelers on Sunday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first quarterback since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970 to start the opener and be traded before Week 2.
“This move obviously clarifies our quarterback situation,” general manager Phil Savage said.
Derek Anderson, who replaced Frye in the second quarter Sunday, will assume the starting role and rookie Brady Quinn becomes the backup. Ken Dorsey, signed Tuesday to a one-year contract, will tutor the other two in the classroom and be the emergency quarterback Sunday vs. Cincinnati.
With Quinn No. 2, he is an Anderson injury from being thrust into the game. Savage said Quinn’s made enough progress in the last few weeks to fill that role, but he’s not ready to start.
“We’ve talked about it a lot,” Savage said. “There is a feeling that he’s certainly closer to being ready to play. We want to be able to give him a full gamut of plays and give him a chance to have some success. I don’t know if that happens in two weeks, four weeks, six weeks.
“There are some things out there that he needs to get some experience on the practice field with. If training camp wasn’t important, we wouldn’t have it, and he missed 16 practices. It’s tough to go back and make up for that.”
While coach Romeo Crennel’s job is to win in the present, Savage is focused on the long term.
“The important thing in the big picture, and that’s a difficult part for people to grasp, is that we develop Brady Quinn in the right way, Savage said. “That’s the most important thing that we have to do this year … and win.”
The bye week comes after six games and a stretch of top defenses, so it is the natural point for Quinn to step in. In the meantime, the Browns will try to win a game or two with Anderson, 0-3 as a starter, and Dorsey, 2-8. Frye was 6-13.
“I think our team realizes we have young quarterbacks, but I think they see the potential,” Savage said. “Some people think we’re doing some kind of experiment up here, but we’re not. We are trying to win.”
Anderson opened training camp with an advantage over Frye, as Quinn missed 16 practices. By the end of August it was clear Frye, a third-round pick in 2005, had outplayed Anderson, forcing the Browns to start him in the opener. But when Frye went 4-for-10 for 34 yards with an interception, 10.0 rating and five sacks in 22 minutes, his time in Cleveland – 75 miles from his hometown of Willard and 38 miles from his alma mater, the University of Akron – was done.
“Charlie did enough to win the job, trot out there for the first game,” Savage said. “But just because you crossed that finish line doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep performing.”
Frye’s final play for the Browns was a sack by Ike Taylor. He was sacked five times in 15 dropbacks, compared with Anderson’s one sack in 29.
“That was probably the most revealing stat,” Savage said.
According to Savage, he had discussed trades for Frye and Anderson since drafting Quinn with the No. 22 pick. But the holdout prevented him from making a move because he didn’t want Quinn to have to be the backup.
Frye’s showing Sunday and Quinn’s progression cleared the way for the trade.
“Now was the time to do it,” Savage said. “We wanted to try to maximize the value of all four guys. If we waited another week, we might lose out on Ken Dorsey.
“And the value of what we did get for Charlie certainly would have gone down if what occurred Sunday continued.”
Frye’s value on the trade market was greater than that of the big-armed Anderson, according to Savage.
“Charlie was a scout favorite coming out of the draft,” he said. “People always ask about him.”
Frye was 354-of-567 passing for 3,490 yards with 14 touchdowns and 23 interceptions for a 71.1 rating. Savage talked with him late Monday night and met with him Tuesday.
“Obviously he’s disappointed,” Savage said. “When you get drafted in the third round and come to the hometown team, you want it to turn out differently.
“I think he realizes he was put in a pretty tough spot. Charlie’s a good person, he works hard and I think he’ll do OK out there.”
Frye will go to the bench behind Seattle starter Matt Hasselbeck. The Seahawks visit Cleveland Browns Stadium on Nov. 4.
“It really was a dream come true for me to play for my hometown team,” Frye said in a statement released by the Browns. “I know the best of my career is still ahead of me.”

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7135 or spetrak@chroniclet.com.