CLEVELAND, Ohio – For years I have heard agents and front office people talk about the âBrowns Tariffâ.
This meant the Browns had to pay extra to attract a free agent, or even keep some of their key players.
The city of Cleveland was not the problem. It was the Browns. The Browns who always lose. The Browns who fire everyone. The Browns who, until the 2020 season, had not won a playoff game since 1994.
It could change.
Consider Nick Chubb signing a three-year, $ 36.6 million extension, keeping him with the team for four more seasons.
Chubb is an exceptional person and player, the perfect personality for Cleveland.
âI approach this, coming to Cleveland, how I approach everything else,â Chubb said at his press conference on Monday. âI would come here and go to work. I knew people would notice eventually and that’s what happened.
A PILLAR OF FRANCHISE
It’s Chubb …
Work hard. Be nice to people. Don’t be greedy and don’t be a fool.
The people of Northeast Ohio love to look at themselves through this lens.
Chubb made it clear to his agent to find a way to strike a respectable deal. He didn’t need to be the highest paid in his job.
And Browns’ front office knew he had to move away from the analytical model to “overpay” a running back.
In the team’s press release, this is the man CEO Andrew Berry called “the backbone of our organization … Nick is the soul of our team.”
Under these circumstances, the Browns absolutely, positively had to sign this guy.
A VERY GOOD TREND
In 2015, the Browns had the highest-paid defense in the NFL after throwing a lot of money at free agents Karlos Dansby, Donte Whitner and Tramon Williams as well as first-round picks Danny Shelton, Barkevious Mingo and Justin Gilbert on the listing.
This team finished 3-13 and the defense ranked 29th out of 32 teams in points allowed.
In an Athletic 2020 story by Ben Standig on how agents perceive various NFL general managers, Berry received excellent reviews and was voted No. 3 in terms of “Trustworthy.”
It’s a challenge for a GM to be valued by agents, while making sure you don’t mess up your team’s payroll.
Berry was able to sign Myles Garrett for a five-year, $ 125 million extension last season. It was a huge accomplishment. Garrett was drafted in 2017 and the Browns were 0-16. He played for Hue Jackson, Gregg Williams and Freddy Kitchens – three coaches in three years. He also had three different general managers.
Who could blame Garrett if he wanted to leave when his contract ended? But Berry was able to convince Garrett to stay. The star defensive end was grateful for the way the team supported him following his fight with Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph.
Garrett was briefly the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. Then Joey Bosa of the Chargers signed his overtime. By calculations, Garrett is either No.2 or as low as No.4, with the Bears ‘Khalil Mack and Rams’ Aaron Donald also having huge contracts to play in defense.
MORE SIGNATURES TO COME?
Berry also signed Kareem Hunt in 2020 for a two-year, $ 13 million extension that begins this season.
The players and the agents are talking. The dialogue on the Browns was that this was a great place to get paid, but that’s probably all you’ll get. The franchise is a mess.
But with recent successes on the ground and in contract negotiations, that is changing. Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and possibly Wyatt Teller are awaiting contract extensions.
Then there’s Chubb, who can advertise the Browns.
âI love it here in Cleveland,â Chubb said. âI love this team. I like the coaches. I like the position I find myself in. I can’t ask for anything better than where I am.
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