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Browns hoping to keep Anderson, Lewis off free-agent market

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns have made contract offers to
quarterback Derek Anderson and running back Jamal Lewis, key
players they hope to keep off the free-agent market.


A team spokesman confirmed proposals were sent to the
representative for both players, but he could not provide details
about the length or value of the deals.

Anderson, who won 10 games and threw 29 touchdown passes in his
first season as a starter, is scheduled to become a restricted free
agent on Feb. 29. If the Browns can't lock him up with a long-term
deal before then, they can tender him with a one-year contract
worth $2.52 million.

The club would then be able to match any contract offers made to
Anderson by other teams or receive first- and third-round draft
picks as compensation if the 24-year-old signs with another team.

Lewis rushed for 1,304 yards and nine TDs in his first season
with the Browns, who signed him to a one-year, incentive-stuffed
contract worth $5 million last March. Lewis, who can become an
unrestricted free agent, has said he wants to stay with Cleveland.

However, keeping him could be a challenge as several other teams
may attempt to sign the 28-year-old, who is coming off his most
productive season since rushing for 2,066 yards for Baltimore in
2003.

Meanwhile, the Browns have yet to finalize a contract extension
for coach Romeo Crennel. His agent, Joe Linta, met with general
manager Phil Savage during this week's Senior Bowl activities in
Mobile, Ala.

Crennel led the Browns to a 10-6 turnaround in his third season.
He has two years remaining on a five-year package he signed in
2005. Savage recently said the Browns would "do right" by
Crennel.