Browns To Exercise CB Greg Newsome’s Fifth-Year Option

As fifth-year option decisions continue to be made around the league, the Browns will take the expected route in the case of cornerback Greg Newsome. Cleveland will keep Newsome in the fold for at least the next two years, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

A report from earlier this month indicated the Browns were in position to pick up the option, so today’s confirmation comes as no surprise. Newsome will now be attached to a 2025 salary of $13.38MM, since he checks in at the third tier of option values. Trade rumors have surrounded the 23-year-old, but he remains firmly in at least Cleveland’s intermediate-term plans.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry made it clear prior to the draft that he had no intention of moving Newsome despite his presence in a deep CB room. Cleveland already has Denzel Ward attached to a $20.1MM-per-year agreement, and 2022 third-rounder Martin Emerson will be eligible for an extension as early as next offseason. The latter had a strong second NFL campaign, delivering four interceptions and 13 pass deflections. A new Emerson deal will therefore likely require another large financial commitment, something which would be complicated by a Newsome agreement.

Still, the Northwestern product has provided starting-caliber play throughout his three years in Cleveland. Spending considerable time in the slot over the past two seasons in particular, Newsome has totaled 29 pass breakups to date. His only two interceptions came last season, one which doubled as his best with respect to coverage statistics (56.7% completion percentage, 74.8 passer rating allowed as the nearest defender). Continuing to progress in both respects could line him up for a long-term accord, one which can be worked out at any time.

Ward is on the books through 2027, whereas Emerson’s rookie pact is in place for the next two seasons. As a result, the Browns’ lauded cornerback trio should remain intact during the 2024 and ’25 campaigns, although the team has added depth via the draft over the past two springs. Cleveland selected Cameron Mitchell in the fifth round of last year’s draft, and he logged three starts as a rookie. The Browns also added Myles Harden in the seventh round this past weekend, but the depth ahead of him will make it hard to see playing time.

Newsome will enter the 2024 season assured of a key defensive role, and Berry’s comments related to shooting down a trade – coupled with today’s decision (which matches those made with the 2021 class’ other Day 1 corners so far), of course – point to him staying in place through the expiration of his rookie contract. How willing the team is regarding a multi-year commitment will be an interesting storyline to follow.

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