Cleveland Browns Rumors & News

Browns, LB Jamie Collins Close To Extension

The Browns are nearing an extension with linebacker Jamie Collins and should have an agreement in place by the weekend, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.Jamie Collins

[RELATED: Top 3 Offseason Needs — Cleveland Browns]

Cleveland, of course, acquired Collins from the Patriots in the fall, sacrificing a conditional third- or fourth-round pick (depending on the circumstances) to do so. New England presumably traded Collins, in part, due to his contractual demands, as he was due to hit unrestricted free agency this March. Collins reportedly turned down an $11MM per/year extension offer from the Patriots, and was intent on topping fellow linebacker Luke Kuechly‘s $12.36MM yearly average.

While those figures may have presented a problem for New England, the Browns are in prime position to meet Collins’ requests, as they’re projected to head into the offseason with a league-high $110MM in cap space. As such, Cleveland has more than enough financial wiggle room to extend Collins, re-sign fellow pending free agent Terrelle Pryor, and explore the open market for upgrades. Of course, by extending Collins, the Browns have afforded themselves the opportunity to use the franchise tag on Pryor if extension talks fail.

Ranking seventh on PFR’s 2017 Free Agents Power Rankings, Collins had expressed an interest in re-signing with Cleveland before hitting free agency this spring. “(Losing is a deterrent) but at the same time, money comes into play around that time,” Collins said last month. “If the money is right then I could stay here. Obviously I’m not going to turn it down.”

Collins, 27, started eight games for the Browns after being shipped to Cleveland, posting 48 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble during that time. All told, Collins graded as just the 44th-best edge defender in the league, per Pro Football Focus, a far lower rating that he’d attained in years past. Reports indicated that Collins had begun “freelancing” in New England’s defense, but clearly the Browns were impressed enough by his half-season stint to retain him for the long haul.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFLPA Announces Cap Carryover Amounts

The NFL Players Association has announced all 32 teams’ salary cap carryover amounts for the 2017 season (Twitter link). Next season’s cap figure isn’t yet known, but it’s likely to be in the $165MM range. When that becomes official, it can be added to each team’s carryover amount to determine that club’s official spending room for 2017.

Here are this year’s carryover totals:

  1. Cleveland Browns: $50,123,269
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars: $39,314,310
  3. San Francisco 49ers: $38,708,916
  4. Tennessee Titans: $24,046,522
  5. Washington Redskins: $15,055,131
  6. Carolina Panthers: $13,208,020
  7. Miami Dolphins: $8,363,708
  8. Chicago Bears: $8,103,197
  9. Oakland Raiders: $8,000,000
  10. Green Bay Packers: $7,984,687
  11. Philadelphia Eagles: $7,933,869
  12. Denver Broncos: $7,243,248
  13. Indianapolis Colts: $6,614,106
  14. Cincinnati Bengals: $6,578,866
  15. New Orleans Saints: $5,754,000
  16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $5,330,779
  17. New England Patriots: $5,292,335
  18. Kansas City Chiefs: $5,002,168
  19. Houston Texans: $4,935,924
  20. Detroit Lions: $4,725,644
  21. Arizona Cardinals: $4,405,068
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers: $3,269,367
  23. Buffalo Bills: $2,837,222
  24. Baltimore Ravens: $2,553,126
  25. Dallas Cowboys: $2,401,553
  26. Seattle Seahawks: $2,065,865
  27. New York Giants: $1,800,000
  28. Atlanta Falcons: $926,541
  29. Minnesota Vikings: $400,184
  30. New York Jets: $371,487
  31. Los Angeles Rams: $304,311
  32. Los Angeles Chargers: $113,693

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Add Clyde Simmons To Coaching Staff

  • The Browns have tabbed Clyde Simmons as their assistant defensive line coach, per Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. He’ll take over for Robert Nunn, whom the Browns fired Tuesday, according to Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com (Twitter links). Simmons, a former defensive end who amassed 121.5 sacks between 1986-2000, worked as the Rams’ assistant D-line coach over the past half-decade. Heading to Cleveland means he’ll remain under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was also previously with the Rams.

Browns Hire Blake Williams, Jerod Kruse

  • The Browns hired Blake Williams as their linebackers coach and Jerod Kruse as an assistant defensive backs coach, reports Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com (via Twitter). Williams, the son of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, spent last season working under his dad in Los Angeles.

    [SOURCE LINK]

Browns Hire Bob Wylie As O-Line Coach

  • The Browns have hired Bob Wylie as their new offensive line coach, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (via Twitter). The 65-year-old has been coaching for more than three decades, and he spent the past three seasons coaching the offensive line for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. His last NFL gig came in 2011, when he coached the Raiders’ offensive line.

    [SOURCE LINK]

Browns' QB Possibilities At No. 1 Overall

Thanks in part to his heroics this past Monday in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, outgoing Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s draft stock is soaring, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN. After Watson completed 36 of 56 passes for 420 yards and four touchdowns (one rushing) in Clemson’s 35-31 win over Alabama, two NFL personnel directors and one general manager informed Schefter that the 21-year-old will go in the top half of the first round this spring. All regard Watson as a soon-to-be top 10 pick, and it’s possible he’ll go to the Browns at No. 1 overall.

  • While the Browns also own the 12th pick in the draft, odds are they’ll have to take a quarterback at No. 1 – be it Watson, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky or Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer – if they like him enough, several draft experts and talent evaluators told Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “A lot of teams need quarterbacks and they will overvalue them and reach,” an NFL personnel executive said. In assessing the three signal-callers, a talent evaluator opined, “[Watson] was very impressive in that game and has a special skill set. Accuracy is always a concern. His body of work makes him safer than Trubisky, but Trubisky has a big upside. Kizer is solid, but I don’t think he’s ready to play right away. Watson appears to be the only one who could hold his own right now.” The Browns reportedly “love” Trubisky, but taking him, Watson or Kizer would mean passing on Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett – with whom they’re also smitten.

Browns Hire DeWayne Walker As DBs Coach

  • The Browns have hired DeWayne Walker to coach their defensive backs, according to Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com. Walker was in Jacksonville as its DBs coach over the past four years. In going to Cleveland, he’ll reunite with Browns head coach Hue Jackson and new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Walker worked with each of them in previous stops.

Browns Fire Five Coaches

  • The Browns announced that they’ve begun to restructure their defensive staff under new coordinator Gregg Williams, parting ways with defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland, assistant defensive backs coach Cannon Matthews, and outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik. Cleveland also fired offensive line coach Hal Hunter.

Top 3 Offseason Needs: Cleveland Browns

In advance of March 9, the start of free agency in the NFL, Pro Football Rumors will detail each team’s three most glaring roster issues. We’ll continue this year’s series with the Cleveland Browns, who finished 1-15 in 2016, narrowly avoiding a winless season.

Depth Chart (via Roster Resource)

Pending free agents:

Top 10 Cap Hits for 2017:

  1. Joe Haden, CB: $14,400,000
  2. Joe Thomas, T: $10,000,000
  3. Robert Griffin III, QB: $9,250,000
  4. Tramon Williams, CB: $7,500.000
  5. Josh McCown, QB: $5,041,668
  6. Demario Davis, LB: $4,800,000
  7. Desmond Bryant, DL: $4,000,000
  8. Gary Barnidge, TE: $3,812,500
  9. Jamar Taylor, CB: $3,275,000
  10. Danny Shelton, DT: $3,191,910

Other:

Three Needs:

1) Find a franchise quarterback: The image has reached near immortal status on the internet: a Browns fan donning a jersey listing the litany of quarterbacks that have led the club since it returned to Cleveland in 1999, beginning with Tim Couch and Ty Detmer and concluding with the likes of Johnny Manziel and Robert Griffin III. 26 signal-callers have made at least one start for the Browns during that stretch, yet Cleveland is still searching for a franchise quarterback as the calendar turns to 2017.Robert Griffin III Browns (vertical)

Upgrading under center should be a primary goal for the Browns this offseason, as their current depth chart at the position is wholly uninspiring. Griffin is signed through the 2017 campaign, and Cleveland executive Sashi Brown said last September that the club doesn’t view RGIII as simply a short-term solution. However, Griffin started only five games in 2016 while dealing with injuries, and wasn’t overly effective when he was on the field, completing less than 60% of his passes while posting a Total Quarterback Rating of just 33. The Browns could clear $7.5MM in salary cap space by releasing Griffin this offseason, and while Cleveland certainly doesn’t need any extra cap room, the team should at least approach Griffin about a paycut.

Elsewhere on the roster, veteran Josh McCown is not part of the Browns’ long-term future (and is now considering retirement), leaving 2016 third-round pick Cody Kessler as the lone remaining option of intrigue. Thrown into the fire perhaps before he was ready, Kessler performed relatively well, tossing six touchdowns against two interceptions while managing a Total QBR of nearly 50. Kessler isn’t a star, but his display of competency during his rookie season indicates that he could carve out a career as a high-end backup, and offer the upside of a poor man’s Andy Dalton.

So even with Kessler in tow, the Browns are still in the market for another quarterback, and free agency could be the first place the club turns in its hunt. While Cleveland could take a flier on a QB such as Mike Glennon, EJ Manuel, or Ryan Nassib, it’s not readily apparent than any of those options would offer a substantial improvement on the Browns’ internal choices. Washington’s Kirk Cousins, on the other hand, would represent a significant upgrade at the quarterback position, but the Redskins are extremely unlikely to let their QB hit the open market. Recent reports have indicated Washington won’t hesitate to use the franchise tag on Cousins for a second consecutive year, but if he does reach free agency, the Browns would likely be a prime contender for his services.Mitch Trubisky (Vertical)

The draft, then, offers the best chance for Cleveland to secure a long-term option at quarterback, and while draft analysts posit that no “sure-thing” signal-caller exists in the 2017 class, this year’s crop of prospects does include some first-round QB candidates. The Browns reportedly “love” UNC’s Mitch Trubisky, and having scouted him in recent weeks, could use the first overall pick on the Tarheel quarterback. If Cleveland opts to go in another direction at No. 1, the club could look at Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer (whom Browns scout Lake Dawson has spent an “inordinate” amount of time watching) or Clemson’s Deshaun Watson with the twelfth selection.

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