SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco quarterback Ty Detmer, who backed up Steve Young last season, could be on his way to Cleveland.
League rules prevent a trade from being formalized until Friday.
However, the 49ers and Browns have talked about a possible deal involving Detmer, who was signed by San Francisco before last season as a free agent after two years as a starter for Philadelphia. He also spent four years in Green Bay as Brett Favre's understudy.
Cleveland, looking to stock its new team with players, would give the 49ers draft picks in exchange for Detmer. Other San Francisco players that could be included in the swap are defensive end Roy Barker and tight end Irv Smith, according to unidentified sources cited by the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times on Thursday.
In his only start last season, Detmer offset three interceptions by throwing for three scores in San Francisco's 25-23 win over Carolina.
The 49ers are in need of draft picks after last April's trade with Denver in which they sent their 1999 second-round selection to Denver in exchange for tackle Jamie Brown, who proved to be a bust and was released earlier this week.
San Francisco also is trying to slash its bloated player payroll. Teams must be in compliance with the cap by Friday.
The expansion Browns are believed to want Detmer, a seven-year pro, as a potential starter while a young quarterback, perhaps rookie Tim Couch, is groomed for the job. Cleveland is considering taking Couch, a star at Kentucky, with the first pick in the NFL draft.