|This story originally published on BerniesInsiders.com|
The rollercoaster ride is finally coming to a full stop.
Was it fun for you, too?
It is an annual news story that again this year lacked suspense, barring a complete and utter brain malfunction on the part of Edwards, his representatives, and the Cleveland Browns organization. Braylon Edwards was going to be signed and was going to play for the Browns in 2005. The only question was how long it would take to negotiate, and how it would effect the team's salary cap.
Again this year, we watched news organizations racing to be the first to report an item of news which, as any businessman could tell you, isn't really news until the contract is signed or, if you're especially cynical, until the first check clears the bank.
We're not sure who won that race. Nor do we care.
The important thing is this: BerniesInsiders.com has confirmed this evening, along with Fox Sports, that Braylon Edwards has indeed agreed in principle to a five-year deal with the team. This is the first, and only, time that we're going to report this information.
So, take it that it is "unofficially" done. It won't be truly done until Edwards comes to Berea, signs the contract, puts on a uniform, and hits the playing field. If you want to track the mechanics of that, it will undoubtedly be presented breathlessly by one of the local media outlets.
To us, the most interesting part of this particular drama occurred on Wednesday night, when Edwards and agent Lamont Smith bolted Berea, and claimed to be leaving town. Smith, however, stayed on the phone with Berea and continued to negotiate the deal.
BerniesInsiders.com can confirm that marketing issues, as reported by Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, were the reason for the delay in getting the contract signed. We can also provide some additional information based on What We've Been Told.
An NFL source told Bernie's Insiders on Wednesday night that "Edwards wants to get as much (marketing-related income) as he can. The team wants to have say in it, which is (nonsense)".
The source told Bernie's Insiders that Glazer's report pointing to marketing issues was accurate, but that the issue is "more complicated" than what has appeared in the press.
The issue the Browns have with any player marketing is the potential to cast the organization in a negative light. We have learned that, in this case, the Browns will be involved in the process, but that Edwards has the right and ability to be marketed in a manner which he sees fit.
Contractually, there is a morals clause which gives the team some recourse in the event Edwards engages in marketing activities which cast the team in a poor light.
This, according to our sources, is what came out of the commotion on Wednesday night, and how the issue has been resolved.
And now, when the noise dies down, we can return to the game of football, which Romeo Crennel and his team is prepared to play this coming Saturday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium.