Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam made it clear in his end of season meeting with the media that the Browns needed to do three things better.
- Draft better
- Spend wisely in free agency
- Retain talent long term
They’re already heading in the right direction in one.
The Browns and linebacker Jamie Collins have agreed to a four year contract before he can even make it to free agency.
CBS NFL insider Jason LaCanfora was the first to report last Thursday that a deal was coming but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport provided the contract details Monday evening.
The team made it official shortly after
And Jamie Collins issued this statement in the team’s press release
Collins was acquired by the Browns in October for a third round pick in a trade with the New England Patriots. He made an impact on the defense with 69 tackles (8 for a loss) and two sacks in eight games.
This is big news for the Browns going forward. To get Collins locked up for the future and to have a nice building block in the rebuilding process is great going forward.
With Collins along with Danny Shelton, Christian Kirksey and Emmanuel Ogbah, the front seven is shaping nicely for new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Not to mention with two picks in the first 12 selections in April’s NFL draft, the Browns could add an additional two cornerstone pieces for their young defense.
And the contract is also a steal for the franchise. When Collins was acquired, it was reported that he was looking for “Von Miller type” money in his next contract.
He didn’t get that but will be the fourth highest paid linebacker in football behind the Chiefs’ Justin Houston, the Broncos’ Von Miller and the Packers’ Clay Matthews.
Now the Browns still have some key free agents to hopefully retain before they hit the open market in March.
- Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor
- Running back Isaiah Crowell
- Offensive lineman Austin Pasztor
LaCanfora is reporting that the team will likely tag Pryor:
And Rapoport reported this late last week on Crowell:
Crowell however is a restricted free agent so the team can match any offer sheet he would potentially sign from another team.
I think it’s very key to keep all three players before they hit the market as all are vital to the team’s rebuilding process and Haslam’s goals for the franchise this offseason.
And with over 100 million dollars in cap space, they have the financial resources to keep them in Cleveland long term.