The Cleveland Browns’ rookies and veterans coming off injury reported to Training Camp today. The Browns 1st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Justin Gilbert, no it wasn’t Johnny Manziel, was not signed as the day begun. Reports over off-set language seemed to be the cause of this. Yet we learned this morning that Gilbert finally signed his rookie deal:
1st rounder Justin Gilbert agrees to terms with Browns, per sources. Only one rookie, Taylor Lewan (Titans), remains unsigned.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 23, 2014
Gilbert is an important piece to the Browns defensive puzzle. We mentioned him as our plus 1 this morning in 3 things to watch for from the rookies in Training Camp. We also mentioned how Head Coach Mike Pettine wants to play physical on the outside with Gilbert and Joe Haden but could be impacted by a new emphasis on a rule.
Obviously Gilbert’s signing is important for both him and the team. To this point Gilbert participated in all team activities. Yet once Training Camp started he would be considered a holdout and not able to be at the facilities. For Gilbert he needs all the time he can for Pettine’s diverse defense as he tries to wrestle the #2 corner spot away from Buster Skrine. He also has competition from fellow rookie Pierre Desir, who also has the requisite size that Pettine likes.
Reports are in that the deal is a standard 4 year deal with some bonus language for being on the roster in Years 2 and 3. For both Gilbert and the Browns they hope there are little concerns about this first contract. If Gilbert plays up to his draft status he will have far out played his rookie contract by Year 2. If he does so the Browns will have a good problem of having to pay 2 top corners big money.
The lone holdout remaining is Taylor Lewan, as Mort reported. His recent reported involvement in a bar fight, as well as his history of off the field problems could be part of the hold up. The Titans like want some protections in the contract in case Lewan continues to be a knucklehead, or worse.
What are your hopes for Gilbert this season?