Greg Newsome II

Browns Sign First-Round CB Greg Newsome II

Another first rounder has put pen to paper. Browns first-round cornerback Greg Newsome II has inked his rookie contract, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The No. 26 pick in the draft will get the standard four-year contract worth $12.75MM.

Newsome had a standout career at Northwestern, starting 18 games and guiding the Wildcats to a pair of Big Ten title games. After earning first-team All-Big-Ten honors in 2020, the defensive back declared for the draft. While Newsome was the fourth cornerback off the board, that was still good enough to warrant a first-selection.

The 6-foot-1 cornerback is a strong candidate to start opposite Denzel Ward in Cleveland, although Greedy Williams will give the rookie a run for his money as the veteran looks to return from a season-long shoulder ailment. No matter what role Newsome ends up playing, he’s ready to contribute however he can.

“My goal honestly is just to do whatever I can to help the team win,’’ Newsome said (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). “Obviously, I would love to start at corner. I think any corner in the room would love to be a starting corner. At the end of the day, if I am helping the team win, that is all I can ask for.”

Newsome was the 29th first-round pick to ink their rookie contract, although his delay was inevitabl3 after switching representation earlier this offseason. Following the signing, the only unsigned first-round picks are Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (No. 2), 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (No. 3), and Chargers offensive tackle Rashawn Slater (No. 13).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Unsigned First-Round Rookies

After the Falcons inked first-round tight end Kyle Pitts to his rookie deal earlier today, there are eight first-round rookies who remain unsigned:

1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB (Clemson)
2) New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB (BYU)
3) San Francisco 49ers (from Texans via Dolphins): Trey Lance, QB (North Dakota State)
13) Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT (Northwestern)
14) New York Jets (from Vikings): Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL (USC)
15) New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB (Alabama)
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): Travis Etienne, RB (Clemson)
26) Cleveland Browns: Greg Newsome II, CB (Northwestern)

This isn’t a huge cause for concern, as first-round contracts are pretty standard and by-the-book. However, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has an explanation for why at least a handful of these players still haven’t put pen to paper. According to the reporter (via Twitter), there are still some “wrinkles to work out” for the notable quarterback deals. This sentiment would presumably apply to each of the top-three picks, and it could even be referring to Patriots first-round quarterback Mac Jones.

There’s a number of minor details that agents could be pushing for, including signing bonus terms or any other contract language that goes beyond the standard, boilerplate options. On the other side, teams could be pushing for some type of offset language, meaning the organization would get some financial flexibility if the player for some reason doesn’t finish their rookie contract with the team.

When it comes to the quarterbacks, most of the agents are probably waiting to see how Lawrence’s deal unfolds in Jacksonville. Alternatively, if Bill Belichick and the Patriots (somehow) give in to any demands from Jones camp, you can bet the top-three QBs would argue for similar benefits. While there are a number of reasons why the other, non-QB players have yet to sign, one could guess that the two offensive lineman may be pushing for similar terms (Vera-Tucker could also simply be waiting for his teammate to sign their contract). Etienne is in a unique position as one of only two first-round running backs (or, like Vera-Tucker, he could be waiting for his teammate), while Newsome recently fired his agent.

The teams and the players will want the contracts settled prior to training camp in late-July, but that still leaves a few weeks for negotiating.