CLEVELAND, Ohio – Within 24 hours, the Browns made massive contract commitments to … get this … a pair of guards!
They did it well in front of a free agency. Smart? You better believe it.
Teams sometimes make the mistake of asking, “How much do I have to pay this guy to keep him – and is he worth it? Can I find someone cheaper?”
But when it comes to elite guards like Joel Bitonia and Wyatt Teller, the Browns seemed to be asking this question instead: “How much will it cost to replace these guys? How much will they miss us?”
The Browns would miss MUCH Bitonia and Teller. When it comes to replacing them, it will cost A TON.
That’s why signing the two Rangers at the peak of their careers to contracts keeping them under team control through the 2025 season was wise – even with the combined total cost of more than $ 100 million.
Of course, that’s not all guaranteed. Until we get the full contract information, just assume it’s less. But it’s still a major investment that many teams don’t want to make, especially with guards. Gears? Yes. But guards are sometimes considered.
“In the NFL, if you have guys that you think are good players, especially in the trenches, you want to try to keep those guys,” Bitonia said. “It’s hard to find those guys.”
While he didn’t say it, Bitonia meant guys like Pro Bowl caliber guards.
KEEP IT TOGETHER
Teller and Bitonia want to stay here.
Bitonia explained, “My agent went to the Browns this offseason and (said) ‘Hey, we want to be here. What do you think of Joel? We want to try to make something work.’ Those discussions go on for a long time. We have a few years left on the contract. … Honestly, after the season started, I said to my agent, ‘I don’t want to hear anything about anything. I’m trying to play games.’
The Andrew Berry front office was working on two negotiation fronts. They didn’t want to lose Teller, who was headed to free agency after the season. If a good player achieves free agency, he rarely returns to his original team.
The Teller deal is a four-year extension worth $ 56 million with about $ 28 million guaranteed, according to overthecap.com. They also believe that Bitonia is a great player, one of the guys who is part of the team’s long-term heartbeat. Bitonia’s extension is $ 48 million for three years. The details have not yet been released.
The offensive line is now in great shape in terms of contracts and talent.
Teller and Bitonia are under team control through 2025. Left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. is signed through 2024. Right tackle Jack Conklin and center JC Tretter are signed through 2022.
HOW THEY AGREED
“I was with Johnny (Manziel) and Justin Gilbert when I got here,” Bitonia said.
That was the 2014 draft, a major first-round disaster with Manziel and Gilbert. But former GM Ray Farmer picked Bitonia in the second round. The Nevada left tackle was transformed into a guard and put together a career that Berry believes could eventually lead to the Hall of Fame.
“I was a little overlooked and right,” Bitonia said. “You have two first-round picks. … Since I’ve been here, the people of Cleveland have always treated me with respect. ”
Then there’s Teller. Prior to the 2019 season, former GM John Dorsey traded five- and six-round picks in 2020 to Buffalo for Teller and a seventh-round pick in 2021. It was a yawn at the time.
Now it’s another story.
Tretter was signed as a free agent by the Sashi Brown front office in 2017. The Dorsey front office signed him to an extension. Berry picked Wills in the first round of 2020. He signed Conklin to a 3-year, $ 42 million deal by the 2020 season. At that point, Conklin became the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle.
WHY THEY LOVE IT!
“It’s really amazing,” Teller said. “I thank Cleveland fans. Offensive linemen are loved and they are glorified here. This is just a special city. ”
That is very true. Consider how future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas is honored. So is former left tackle Doug Dieken, now in the broadcast booth. For years, fans were mad when the Browns failed to keep linebackers Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz.
You can go back to any Browns era, fans here love linebackers and – yes – good kickers.
“Wyatt said that, they love their line players,” Bitonia said. “It’s funny how much they support their line players. They love their children. I think they’ve learned to support some of their great line players in the past – Joe Thomas and those guys – they’ve learned a little bit about loving these guys. It was very cool. “
LASTANA TERRY PLUTON COLUMN
Terry’s Podcast: The Rise of the Cavs, a kind word for Ray Farmer, Life without OBJ
CSU opens at home Saturday. Did the Vikings become a “terrible team” to play?
Talking to myself about the OBJ deal and Brown’s life without him.
Post-game scribbles: How Stefanski and Baker put the Browns together
“True” Browns returns when OBJ leaves
Is there a reason for optimism when Rangers go into the winter?
Brown problems were deeper than OBJ
This is a great game for Baker Mayfield – pre-game scribbles
Browns have a chance to make a statement without an OBJ
Get the latest Browns merchandise: Here’s where you can order Cleveland Browns gear online, including jerseys, T-shirts, hoodies, hats and more.