Shortly after locking down Wyatt Teller, the Browns are aiming to retain their other standout guard. Joel Bitonio‘s deal runs through 2022, and the Browns are interested in a third contract for their Pro Bowl guard, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.
The Browns locked down Bitonio back in 2017 on a five-year deal worth $50MM. The guard market has changed since, and Bitonio has delivered a few Pro Bowl seasons while on his second contract as well. While eight-figure-per-year guards were rare when Bitonio signed that contract, that price has become commonplace. Bitonio’s AAV is now tied for 11th in the NFL.
Cleveland gave Teller a four-year, $56.8MM extension Tuesday, moving the younger guard well above Bitonio in salary. It appears the Browns are not prioritizing the younger Teller, whose rookie contract was up after this season. Bitonio turned 30 last month but is coming off three consecutive Pro Bowl seasons. Pro Football Focus currently ranks Teller and Bitonio as its Nos. 2 and 3 overall guards, respectively.
Bitonio, Teller, J.C. Tretter and Jack Conklin are all signed to veteran deals, with only Jedrick Wills on a rookie pact. But Cleveland’s offensive line is arguably the NFL’s best. It has both helped move Baker Mayfield‘s career back on track, after a rough 2019 season, and further unleashed Nick Chubb. Bitonio is by far the longest-tenured member of that group, having been with the Browns since 2014. Another agreement with the former second-round pick does not quite check in as the Browns’ highest-profile negotiation, with Mayfield and Denzel Ward still attached to rookie deals.