The Cleveland Browns are down to 1 rookie not signed as 2nd round offensive lineman Joel Bitonio agreed to his rookie deal today. Bitonio’s deal is for 4 years and 5.46 million dollars. Justin Gilbert is the only Browns rookie not signed now, which is unsurprising given the position he was drafted, higher picks tend to take longer. Yet Gilbert is one of only three first rounders still not to be signed, and is the highest of those 3.
As for Bitonio, he is expected to start right away for the Browns and help solidify an offensive line that, while talented, had some trouble being strong at the point of attack. Whether due to scheme or personnel last season the offensive line was often pushed back quickly after the snap. This caused issues for the quarterbacks ability to step into their throws as well as running backs who didn’t have a clean look to the line of scrimmage.
With Bitonio and Kyle Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme the Browns hope to change the results. The ZBS will work well with Bitonio’s agility as well as his strength. You can take a look at the Rookie Expectations piece we did a couple weeks back to see our thoughts on him for the following season.
If Bitonio reaches expectations this contract could quickly look like a bargain. He can play inside and outside. His physical attributes makes him valuable in any number of systems, with the Browns history that could be nice and his mean streak on the field will be a nice addition. He may be the rookie the most is expected out of by the new staff, even though fans may not see his impact.
What are your expectations for Bitonio?