Josh Cribbs has declared that, although he will report to Training Camp at the beginning of next month, he will not play a single game for the Browns this season unless he gets a new contract or unless significant progress is made towards a new contract. In other words, a new contract or else…
This ongoing display of croc tears by Josh is apparently over his upset about the 4-year contract that Devin Hester signed with the Bears (which reportedly gives Hester $15 million guaranteed and as much as $40 million maximum). So what? Hester is the best returner in pro football. In addition to the fact that the statistics prove it (for example, Hester in far fewer kick off returns has the same number of TDs as Josh; and Hester has several more punt return TDs than Josh), nobody is more of a game-changer than Devin Hester.
Cribbs also argues that he hopes to take on a more involved role this season in Cleveland. Again, so what? Since when do you get a new contract on speculation that you might catch some passes in the slot, throw a couple of footballs and/or take some snaps in the secondary? The point is that you do those things well and then you come to the dinner table plate in hand.
Josh also claims that the old regime promised him a new contract. The Team disputes that. Lerner has climbed out of his crypt of silence to dispute that personally. Who knows what the truth is. The old horses are gone.
This circus is motivated by the fact that Cribbs negotiated his current contract before his Pro Bowl season; then he changed agents; and his new agent has convinced Josh that he gave up too much money in exchange for a longer term deal. That is what has happened.
I think that Cribbs is a great player. I want him to stay in Cleveland. But I will be disappointed if the Browns give him a new contract before the end of this season. A solid committment to take another look at the deal after this year assuming Cribbs plays a more active role – I can support that. A modest bonus of some sort to recognize Josh’s contributions and as a sign of good faith – I can go along with that as well. But a new contract before the end of this season would stink.