As members of the Cleveland Browns are now attending the NFL owner’s meetings, the first wave of free agency is officially over. That doesn’t mean that teams are done signing players, but it does mean that most of the top-tier players are off the board.
But as we inch closer to the 2023 NFL draft and the regular season, some players (including Juan Thornhill) are being a bit critical of this year’s free agency deals. In a few cryptic tweets, Thornhill makes note of all the one-year deals and that something doesn’t feel right.
It's difficult not to notice that there are more “prove-it” and low-value deals compared to any offseasons in recent history. Even in 2021 when the cap went down for the first time in forever, you still saw a ton of guys getting what felt like overpaid.
Thornhill recently signed a 3-year deal worth up to $21 million and most believe he is the perfect fit.
What is Juan Thornhill implying?
It’s all a matter of opinion, but one could believe that Thornhill thinks the NFL owners have colluded against the players to not offer as strong of deals this offseason.
I’m not saying something like that would be impossible, but the coordination of 32 owners and 32 general managers to intentionally deflate players' contracts seems like a wild accusation. There's certainly an upside for the owners to try something of this sort, but it feels like execution would be next to impossible.
Good or bad for Cleveland Browns?
Not only do I believe these short-term deals are good for the Browns, I think it’s fantastic for the entire league. Not only are you going to get guys giving you 110 percent to earn their next deal, but every single fan also loves an offseason full of big-name free agents.
However, I can't say that I think one of the Browns biggest additions this offseason badmouthing the league is a great idea. He went from all the love in the world for Jim Schwartz and talking Super Bowls, to being vocal about players getting a bad deal.
It’s also worth noting, even though Thornhill is calling out the entire league, this has been Andrew Berry’s model the last few off seasons. You may see one or two long-term deals, but it’s mostly guys who are a step away from a big deal and need to put up some good film before earning it.
Maybe the league is just catching up to the Cleveland Browns?