Greg Newsome 5th year option price tag revealed, Browns face tough decision

Greg Newsome II has been a solid cornerback for the Cleveland Browns but picking up his fifth-year option might not be an easy decision

Cleveland Browns, Greg Newsome II
Cleveland Browns, Greg Newsome II / Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Added as a first-round pick in 2021, Greg Newsome II has developed into a solid cornerback for the Cleveland Browns. He's appeared in 41 games in three seasons with 39 starts. During that time, he's recorded 128 tackles, 29 pass defenses, two interceptions, and one defensive touchdown.

This past season was easily his most productive as he had career highs in every major statistical category and recorded both of his interceptions. He also nearly doubled his total of pass breakups, registering 14 after having 15 in his first two campaigns.

As he enters his fourth season in the NFL, the Browns have a decision to make with Newsome — whether or not to pick up his fifth-year option. On Friday, it was revealed by The 33rd Team that a fifth year for Newsome would be $13.77 million, which would be fully guaranteed. Cleveland has until May 2nd to make their decision.

Browns could go either way with Greg Newsome option

Newsome has done enough to warrant sticking around but there was one jarring concern that surfaced in their playoff loss. Newsome struggled in coverage against Nico Collins and while every defensive back has a bad day, Newsome was quick to claim he wasn't the problem. That sounded far too much like the 2022 defense that lacked accountability.

That on its own isn't enough to say he shouldn't be retained but Newsome has also had some durability concerns. After missing 40 percent of his games at Northwestern, he's now missed 10 games in three seasons. Considering they've so many players banged up in the secondary lately, the Browns might be putting a lot of weight on that.

While those factors are considered, the one that really looms over Newsome is his teammates — Denzel Ward and Martin Emerson. Ward is clearly the leader of the secondary and is already playing under a $100 million deal. Emerson has emerged as the No. 2 cornerback and has missed just one game in his career — which was in Week 18 when the coaching staff decided to rest him.

Emerson is entering his third season in the league and that means he's going to be due for an extension soon. As we've all seen with Jedrick Wills, the fifth-year option is fully guaranteed so the Browns will only sign off on that deal for Newsome if they believe they can still find a way to pay Emerson.

If they believe paying nearly $14 million to Newsome will hurt their chances of keeping Emerson, they might balk at the move. The recent increase in salary cap might make it easier to pull the trigger but whatever they decide, we'll find out by the first week of May.

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