The Cleveland Browns do not seem too keen on offering Joe Schobert a contract extension, and it is a situation they shouldn’t continue to mess around with.
Cleveland Browns linebacker Joe Schobert has been a dominating presence on Cleveland’s defense in 2019 and one of the best players on the entire team this season. As he continues to play well, his price tag for his next contract continues to go up as well.
Schobert is playing on the final year of his rookie deal and is due for a significant pay raise after playing as one of the best linebackers in the NFL the past three seasons. He has always excelled in coverage, but he has greatly improved his tackling in 2019.
In 13 games this season, Schobert has made 110 total tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, four interceptions, and nine passes defensed. Schobert has the ninth most tackles and fourth most interceptions in the NFL this season.
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Despite how well Schobert has played, there does not seem to have been much progress in contract negotiations between Schobert’s agent and the Browns. Speaking to the media Monday, Schobert said the Browns have yet to extend an offer.
“I let my agent handle all this kind of stuff, but my understanding is we haven’t gotten any offers so can’t really build on it from there,’’ he said. – Schobert via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com
Even though he has not been offered a contract, the linebacker said he would prefer to stay in Cleveland instead of leaving as a free agent: “In my perfect world, yeah, I’d be in Cleveland.”
Schobert is clearly a leader for the Browns defense and is vital in most of the defense’s success. Since becoming the starting middle linebacker, Schobert has been responsible for being the on-field brains of the defense and getting the defensive personnel lined up correctly.
He always been reliable in coverage, compiling six interceptions and 19 passes defensed in 42 games over the past three seasons as the starter. He is regularly grading out as one of the top coverage linebackers in the NFL.
The biggest concern about Schobert has been his tackling. He had missed his fair share of tackles in his first two seasons as the starting linebacker, but he has cleaned up his technique and become a much more reliable tackler in 2019.
Schobert is too important to the defense to let him walk at the end of the season. The Browns may be in a salary cap crisis in the next few seasons, but Schobert is not one of the players they should let go to save money.
Although linebackers are being paid big money over the past few seasons, Schobert is a player who deserves one of those types of deals. The most recent linebacker to sign an extension, Shaq Thompson, likely pushed up Schobert’s price after he signed a four-year, $52 million contract with $28 million guaranteed. This deal will presumably create a baseline for a Schobert extension.
The Browns cannot continue to mess around with the Schobert negotiations. He is too critical of a player for their defense to let him leave for nothing. And as they sit and wait to potentially make an offer, Schobert’s price tag continues to climb. It is a good sign that Schobert publicly stated he wants to be in Cleveland, but if the Browns front office continues to balk at making an offer, who knows how long that will last.