At first it was receiver/returner Josh Cribbs who needed to get paid, now running back Jerome Harrison has once again proved all the naysayers wrong and it is time to, as Deion Sanders would say, "Pay the man!"
On Sunday, in the Browns' 2009 season finale, he once again proved that he belongs in an orange helmet as the starting running back for the 2010 NFL season.
Even though he started off really slow on a day where snow was constantly falling, the winds were whipping up to 30mph, and the temperature on the field was -3 degrees with the wind chill, Harrison got heated up for the third straight week and ran for over 120 yards with one touchdown.
This is the third game in a row that Harrison has gone for over 100 yards rushing, he ran for 286 yards against the Chiefs and 148 yards versus the Raiders.
Earlier in the season, Harrison filled in for injured starter Jamal Lewis and ran for 121 yards against the Bengals.
Listed at what many say is a generous height of 5-foot-nine, Harrison is the shortest member of the Browns, but he is also the hottest player too, which is surprising on a team that has had Josh Cribbs making plays all over the field all season long.
Now that the NFL season has ended for the Browns, new President Mike Holmgren will supposedly be making immediate decisions on improtant issues like the coach, quarterbacks, and free agents.
Harrison was in the last year of his rookie contract and now, pending on the Collective Bargaining Agreement, he is an unrestricted free agent (restricted if they is not a new CBA).
At the end of the season, the Browns won four games in a row by not passing the ball 45 times per game, since they only had 31 total passes in their four victories, but the Browns proved they are indeed a running team.
With an offensive line that has seen many changes on the right side, the team finally found the right combination of players to run, run, run the ball down opponents throats.
Yes, they still need to figure out their quarterback situation, but Holmgren really does not need to look at the ground game at all and he may need to create a new and updated form of the West Coast Offense, which he loves to run.
That style of offense is designed around a 60/40 pass/run ratio with short passes acting like an extended version of the running game, but now Holmgren may need to reconsider, especially with the terrible weather that can occur in Cleveland with the stadium being right off of Lake Erie.
OK, it was also very cold in Green Bay, it's called the "Frozen Tundra" for a reason. But even Holmgren cannot deny the fact that he has a good thing going in Cleveland with the running attack.
Many have argued that Harrison's success was against mediocre non-playoff teams, but at the same time, the Browns were playing like they were the team trying to get into the playoffs in the last game of the season rather than the Jaguars who could have had a chance with a win.
Holmgren may need to find a solid starting right tackle via free agency or the draft, but aside from that he needs to re-sign both Harrison and fullback Lawrence Vickers since both are now free agents.
They are key to the future success of the team and Holmgren has a very, very smart football mind and should already know this.
So President Holmgren, when it comes to Harrison (and Vickers)....pay the man (men)!
(Article also posted on Dawg Scooper)