Greg Newsome II was added in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Northwestern and has developed into a very good defensive back for the Cleveland Browns. In three seasons, he has 128 tackles, 29 pass defenses, and two interceptions — one of which he returned for a touchdown against Baltimore.
Following the team's playoff run, Newsome will be entering his fourth season in the NFL which is a significant year for first-round selections. Cleveland will have to decide before the start of the campaign if they want to pick up the fifth-year option in his rookie deal. Should they decide to do so with Newsome, it would trigger a guaranteed payment of just under $13 million in 2025.
Ahead of the 2023 season, Cleveland did elect to pay Jedrick Wills who was their starting left tackle. He's now on the hook for roughly $15 million in 2024. Despite picking up the deal for Wills, Newsome might not be as easy of a decision. As Jack Duffin of the OBR points out, it might be hard for the Browns to justify paying him while already paying so much to their current defensive backs.
In addition to already having Denzel Ward and Grant Delpit on high-priced deals, Duffin says the Browns should lean on Martin Emerson. He added that the second-year defensive back should be the priority when it comes to forking out the big contract.
"For me the Cleveland Browns aren't in a position where they should pick up Newsome's fifth year option because extending Emerson should be the priority instead. This leaves them with two choices either allow him to play out his final year or see what you can get in the trade value." — Duffin, OBR
Duffin adds that Cam Mitchell, Newsome's former teammate at Northwestern, has shown enough to give them confidence he can be the No. 3 guy along with Ward and Emerson. The decision to pick up the option for Wills was easy — he wasn't great but they had no other options. With Newsome, there are options which is why it feels as though Duffin is likely right in his assessment and they might make an unpopular move this offseason.