Cleveland Browns Not Close to Signing First-Round Picks as Training Camp Looms
Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson remain unsigned with only seven short days until the start of Cleveland Browns training camp. Rookies are due to arrive to the facilities on Tuesday, just three days away.
Uneasiness is beginning to sweep through Cleveland as picks around the rest of the league continue to ink contracts. Oh no, not again. Please no, please; NOT AGAIN. Just when everything was seemingly beginning to turn around, the ugly face of Cleveland’s horrible luck shows up again.
A season ago the NFL’s lockout prohibited the young Browns from mastering their new offensive system. With four rookies predicted to start at the most crucial positions on offense it is critical that they get the full offseason regimen. They need to be in training camp on day one to learn to play together.
Recent reports from Pro Football Talk signal that the organization is no closer to reaching a deal with the No. 3 overall pick, Trent Richardson. Mike Florio said Richardson was waiting for Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III to sign their contracts before signing. Both Luck and Griffin III have inked deals over the past few days. Why, then, does Richardson remain unsigned? Florio said that a source knowledgeable of the negotiations claims that serious talks have not yet even begun between Richardson and the Browns.
So, the Browns gave up several draft picks in order to move up one spot in the draft to select Richardson. Now, one week before training camp they have yet to even BEGIN serious negotiations about a player they valued No. 1 in the draft?
This is very disheartening considering the Browns have the cap space needed to come to a middle-ground with their primary offseason additions. Without Richardson and Weeden, the Browns’ offense will continue to be as incompetent as ever.
In Richardson’s case, the deal is being held up by the Browns’ desire to have offset language added to the contract, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer. With the rookie pay scale set, the years, bonus and monetary amount of the contract are pretty much set. Offset language will allow the Browns to save money in the event Richardson signs somewhere else while still under contract with the organization.
The deals of Luck, RGIII and the recently signed Mark Barron (seventh overall selection) did not include offset provisions for their organizations in their contracts.
For Weeden, the hold-up remains his desire for a guaranteed fourth season in his deal. Most picks in the lower-end of the first round have only received three-year contracts with partial guarantees for a fourth-year.
How crucial is it that these guys quickly resolve these discrepancies? As the rookies begin to report Tuesday and more and more players begin to sign around the league, something will have to give.
Who is it going to be? Who’s going to break first?
Weeden and Richardson or the Browns?
Follow Mike on Twitter @BigHoagowski
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