The Cleveland Browns have a lot of cap room and used some of their available monies to keep outside linebacker Jaime Collins around for awhile.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Browns and Collins agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal with $26 million guaranteed
The contract extension for #Browns LB Jamie Collins: 4 years, $50M, source said. $26M in guarantees. Large.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 23, 2017
Cleveland acquired Collins on Oct. 31 from the New England Patriots for a conditional 2017 draft pick — likely a third rounder per USA Today Sports. The Browns went 1-15 last season, setting a franchise record for futility.
Cleveland was one of the worst teams on the defensive side of the ball, ranking 30th in scoring defense as they surrendered 25 or more points on 13 occasions. The Browns were a little better on that side of the ball after Collins joined the team prior to Week 9. The Browns defense will be under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Collins demonstrated his playmaking ability for the Browns, recording 69 tackles and two sacks to go along with three tackles for losses and a forced fumble in eight games. He recorded three, double-digit tackle games with his best game coming against the Cincinnati Bengals (Dec. 11) where he had 15 tackles and one sack. Overall, Collins recorded 112 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions as well as two forced fumbles last year.
Collins earned his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2015 despite playing in just 12 games as he recorded 89 tackles to go along with 5.5 sacks, one interception and five forced fumbles.
Cleveland will switch to a 4-3 defense under Williams, who has been a NFL defensive coordinator for a number of years. Collins, linebacker Christian Kirksey, defensive tackle Danny Shelton and cornerback Jamar Taylor will likely be the centerpieces of Williams’ defense.
Cleveland is expected to be one of the big spenders this offseason with $105 million of cap space available. The Browns are reportedly interested in also negotiating new contracts for wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and running back Isaiah Crowell.
Terrelle Pryor and Isaiah Crowell
Pryor is slated to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and will likely garner interest from several teams if he is allowed to go on the open market. Fansided suggested that the Cincinnati Bengals should look to bring in the 27-year-old receiver.
Pryor told the Akron-Beacon that he would like to stay in Cleveland.
Pryor had a terrific year in his first season as a full-time wide receiver. He led the team with 77 receptions and totaled over 1,000 receiving yards to go along with four touchdown receptions despite playing the final month with a torn ligament in his middle finger — which he had surgery on Jan. 4.
According to Rapoport, the Browns were in heavy discussions with Crowell during the season about a potential extension and could reach an agreement before the 24-year-old back is scheduled to become a restricted free agent.
#Browns were in heavy talks on a deal for Isaiah Crowell this season, source said, but a stalemate now. Can a meeting next week solve it?
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 20, 2017
Crowell had a breakout season this year, compiling 952 yards on just 198 carries for 4.8 yards per carry. He had four 100-yard games though his best performance came in Week 17 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, accumulating 152 yards on 19 carries. Crowell finished the campaign with eight runs of 20 or more yards and seven touchdowns. He is also a capable receiver out of the backfield, adding 40 receptions for 319 yards.
If the Browns can’t re-sign Crowell before free agency begins, they will be able to offer him a first-round tender (worth around $3.8 million), a second-round tender ($2.75 million) or a right-of-first-refusal tender (~$1.75 million).
Defensive end Stephen Paea, punter Britton Colquitt and guard Austin Pasztor are the Browns other unrestricted free agents.
[Featured Image by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images]