Former Cleveland Browns DT Marvin Wilson is an Eagle, or is he?

FSU defensive tackle Marvin Wilson at FSU's first spring practice of 2019.Img 0707Syndication Tallahassee
FSU defensive tackle Marvin Wilson at FSU's first spring practice of 2019.Img 0707Syndication Tallahassee /

Defensive line prospect Marvin Wilson has been signed by the Philadelphia Eagles for their practice squad, but he can be brought back to the Cleveland Browns. 

It has been gleefully pointed out that the Cleveland Browns spent $192,000 to land Marvin Wilson as an undrafted free agent this summer out of Florida State, but he has elected to join the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad instead of the Browns’ practice squad.

How embarrassing. That kid made a foot of old Andrew Berry, right?

Wrong. What the other writers around the NFL may be failing to account for is that if Wilson is on a practice squad — Browns, Eagles, or for any NFL team, or the Arena Football League for that matter — the player can be signed by any team in the NFL. Hence the Browns can bring him back if they want to, provided that they act before other teams do.

No one on an NFL practice squad actually belongs to the team that sponsors them. They can all be signed away by any of the 31 other teams in the NFL.

The practice squad just gives the player a place to practice and a chance to gain some familiarity with one team’s system.

The unfortunate aspect is that Wilson just didn’t play well enough to earn a spot on the 53-player active roster, either for the Browns or the Eagles or for the other 30 teams that allowed him to clear waivers. In that sense, the $192,000 bonus paid by the Browns to Wilson didn’t work out. If the media wants to ridicule Andrew Berry for that, well, okay. Andrew blew $192,000 of the Haslam family’s money.

However, let’s get real here. In professional sports, $192,000 doesn’t mean very much. It would be a lot of money in this writer’s household, and probably in your household also, dear reader, but we are talking about the National Freaking Football League. By comparison, previous Browns general managers have blown millions and millions of dollars on bad investments.

Those of us Browns fans who are amateur general managers, vicariously running the team along with Andrew, should probably tolerate the loss of $192,000 on a rookie who has not (yet) panned out.

At Florida State, he played at a very high level, though he had knee issues and may not have completely rehabbed, which led to him dropping out of the draft. But one summer camp is not necessarily enough time for a football player to reach his full potential. It often takes two or three years, rather than the two or three months of one summer camp. The question is, will he get better or worse in the future?

It’s not the case that he has zero chance to be recalled by the Cleveland Browns. What it does mean is that the Philadelphia Eagles have decided to take the time to get to know him and form an opinion. It really means that two organizations will be familiar with him rather than just one. It’s a smart move by Wilson’s agent, Nicole Lynn.

Lynn has a new book out, Agent You, which is a must-read for anyone considering a career as a sports agent, and worried that you might not “fit the mold” of what your prejudices for qualities a sports agent has to have.

Just by reading things Lynn has written and being aware of what she has done for her rookie clients, I suspect that the two-team approach chosen by Wilson and Lynn is part of a strategic plan. It’s smart to expose the player to two organizations rather than one, and that is what has happened. My, my, my. What a coincidence.

Similarly, for any prospects (or if you are friends of prospects) who might be in the position entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent next year (UDFA), let me urge you to consider the choice of agent very carefully.

Not all UDFA’s get $192,000 bonuses up front. Most get zero and leave with zero. What would you rather have? $192,000 or zero? This isn’t a difficult question, but sadly, too many players make the wrong decision.

Next. Several ‘firsts’ for kickoff against Chiefs. dark

As for Marvin Wilson, his book has not yet been written. We’ve just completed the introductory first chapter. Hopefully, we will see him back in a Browns uniform later this fall. We’ll see.