With tomorrow’s deadline for fifth-year option decisions approaching, more teams continue to commit to one extra year with their 2020 first-round picks. In the Browns’ case, that process has led to a long-anticipated move becoming official.
Cleveland will pick up the option for left tackle Jedrick Wills, reports ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter link). Doing so will lock him into a 2024 salary of $14.175MM, since he has yet to receive a Pro Bowl nod. The Alabama product has been a mainstay on the blindside to begin his career, and that will continue for at least the next two seasons.
Wills, 23, made the interesting transition from right tackle (blocking for the left-handed Tua Tagovailoa) at the college level to left tackle in the NFL. He has started all 45 games he has appeared in, though his career has not been viewed favorably to date by PFF. Wills’ best overall grade has been 66.1, and he has ranked no higher than 52nd amongst qualifying tackles in any of his three seasons.
Nevertheless, Wills has been a key member of the Browns’ highly-rated offensive front, a unit which helped the team rank sixth in rushing yards per game last season. Development in run blocking could go a long way to earning Wills a long-term contract given his comparative strength as a pass protector, but both sides will now have an extended period to negotiate an extension.
This decision will make Wills the third offensive tackle from the 2020 class to have his option picked up (joining Tampa Bay’s Tristan Wirfs and the Giants’ Andrew Thomas, the latter of whom has long been expected to sign a multi-year extension at some point in the near future). The Browns added a right tackle prospect (fourth-rounder Dawand Jones) during the draft with veteran Jack Conklin‘s future beyond 2024 potentially in doubt. On the left side of the line, though, continuity will be had for at least two more years.