BEREA — The agent did his job. Now it’s time for Brady Quinn to get to work.
The Browns’ second first-round pick, 22nd overall, signed a five-year deal Tuesday night. He attended meetings and is scheduled for his first practice today. He will meet the media at 8 a.m.
“He’s got a lot of catching up to do,” general manager Phil Savage said.
Quinn, who starred at quarterback for Notre Dame, missed 11 days and 16 full-squad practices in the holdout. He signed a five-year deal reportedly worth $20.2 million, with $7.75 million guaranteed. The deal could reach $30 million with incentives.
Coach Romeo Crennel referred to Quinn as “the quarterback” Tuesday afternoon and said he’ll begin fourth of the four quarterbacks on the depth chart. Crennel was asked his impression of Quinn after the offseason practices in May and June.
“I had the feeling that he was lost, because that’s what he was,” Crennel said. “But he will study. He’ll get here early and he’ll stay late. I know if you put those kind of hours in and study, you’ll have a chance.”
Quinn (6-foot-3, 235 pounds) was a four-year starter at Notre Dame, setting 36 school records, including career completions, yards and touchdowns. He was projected as a top-five draft pick but slid to No. 22, where the Browns traded up to get him. The Browns gave up a second-round pick in 2007 and a first-round pick in 2008.
Before the draft Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, a former Patriots assistant with Crennel, called Quinn the most NFL-ready quarterback he’d seen.
“One of the things we were attracted to was his intelligence,” Savage said.
The Browns will practice today and Thursday before opening the preseason Saturday at home vs. Kansas City. Crennel wouldn’t rule out Quinn playing in the fourth quarter.
“If we think he’s ready for two plays, he might get two plays,” Crennel said. “It would be plays that will be pretty simple, handoffs.
“I’m not putting him on the first team tomorrow, I’m telling you that right now.”
Quinn is an extreme long shot to start the regular-season opener Sept. 9 vs. Pittsburgh ahead of harlie Frye or Derek Anderson, but Crennel wouldn’t rule it out. Quinn was working out at a training facility in Arizona, but even if he’s in great shape he’s missed a lot. He missed the second run-through of the installation of the offense, hasn’t worn pads as a Brown and doesn’t have timing with the receivers.
“He learns pretty quick,” said rookie Joe Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick. “He’s a pretty bright kid.
“Luckily there are a couple of weeks left before the season. I know he really wanted to be here, working hard with his teammates.”
The main holdups in negotiations were guaranteed money and the triggers in the escalator clause that will bump Quinn’s salary by about $10 million total in the fourth and fifth years. Quinn wanted $8 million guaranteed, but the Browns refused to go that high. The Browns, acknowledging a quarterback premium, exceeded the $7.1 million 21st pick safety Reggie Nelson received, but didn’t match the $8 million of the 20th pick, cornerback Aaron Ross.
The other point of contention was the playing-time trigger. Quinn’s agent, Tom Condon, wanted Quinn to reach his escalators if he takes 55 percent of the snaps in two of the first three years or 70 percent in any of the first three. The Browns wanted to make the incentives more difficult to reach, but likely conceded the point.
“It’s unfortunate it took this long to get done,” said Savage, who added talks intensified over the weekend. “I feel it’s a deal we potentially could’ve done at the start of camp.”
It’s done now, and the Browns will try to prepare Quinn to start at some point this season, possibly near midseason. Quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer will spend extra time with Quinn, but Crennel said he wouldn’t compromise Frye and Anderson by giving too much work to Quinn. He said Quinn’s got a mountain to climb.
“He has to try and learn the system and try to get the fundamentals down with less time,” Crennel said. “You can learn a little bit in the meetings but until you get out there on the field and take the snap, feel the rush and have to avoid it, and get in sync with the receivers — all of that takes time.
“He’ll be pretty good if he can get it by tomorrow.”
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.