Nico Collins contract proves Browns were wise to extend Jerry Jeudy early

Teams that pay early are better off in the long run
Nico Collins vs Cleveland Browns
Nico Collins vs Cleveland Browns / Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Far too often, teams in the NFL wait for another franchise to set the market when it comes to paying players. We see this constantly as every deal that follows the latest "blockbuster" is always slightly higher. Thankfully, the Cleveland Browns learned what other teams haven't — you don't want to wait on the market.

Cleveland was heavily ridiculed in 2022 for giving Deshaun Watson a $230 million extension over five years. Let's not get into the guaranteed debate but look solely at the average per year, which is $46 million. That's a lot of money, but now in 2024, Jared Goff is making $53 million per year.

That's why general manager Andrew Berry got ahead of the curve with Watson and did so again when he signed recently-acquired Jerry Jeudy to a three-year extension worth $58 million. Again, Cleveland was criticized for this move made in March but in May, the deal already looks better.

On Tuesday, the Houston Texans and Nico Collins agreed to an extension worth $72.75 million over three years. His guaranteed money is $52 million, nearly as much as the entire Jeudy deal.

Granted, Collins had a huge season in 2023 with 1,297 yards and eight touchdowns but prior to that, he had 481 yards in 2022 (in 10 games) and 446 in 2021. His explosion coincided with the arrival of C.J. Stroud, who was phenomenal as a rookie.

As for Jeudy, he has 758 yards in 2023 but before then, he put up 972 yards, 467 (in 10 games), and 856. He was on a better pace than Collins before 2023 but the Browns are banking on Jeudy taking a step forward in a new offense, and with a new quarterback.

It's a gamble on their part but if it pays off, they're going to look brilliant for paying $19.3 million per season for Jeudy while Collins reset the market at $24.25 million. Plus, who knows what major deal will come next?

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