Still a member of the Browns heading into 2019, right guard Kevin Zeitler has been one of the best free agent pickups in the team’s long history. This move had it all, as they landed a big name in free agency, he came in and played up to his huge contract, not mention that the Browns robbed him from an AFC North rival in the Cincinnati Bengals.
Zeitler came out of Wisconsin, which clearly needs to be re-named to Offensive Line University. Huge stars in the front five like Joe Thomas, Ryan Ramczyk, Rob Havenstein and Travis Frederick all played for the Badgers and have had great success in the NFL. And there are more coming into the league this season, such as David Edwards and Michael Deiter.
As good as all those players have been, Zeitler finds himself right near the top — which we all know the No. 1 spot is occupied by Thomas. Zeitler was taken at No. 27 overall and found himself named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team after starting all 16 games for the Bengals. He played the following four seasons as the rock star of their line before hitting free agency prior to the 2017 season.
That’s when Cleveland came calling with a massive contract offer for his services. Zeitler became the highest paid guard in the NFL at the time, securing a five-year contract worth $60 million. He’s earned that, and then some over the past two seasons. Zeitler has teamed up with Joel Bitonio, and J.C. Tretter, to form one of the best trios of interior blockers in the NFL.
A lot went wrong for the Browns during the 2017 NFL season. However, their move to sign Kevin Zeitler doesn’t fall into that category. He’s one of the best guards in the entire NFL — even if he keeps getting snubbed from the Pro Bowl.