BEREA – The Browns are beginning to play hardball in their contract negotiations with holdout linebacker Chaun Thompson.
Thompson, the 52nd pick in the draft, has turned down a five-year contract offer that is worth more than the five-year deal signed by Miami's Eddie Moore, the 49th overall choice. The inability to reach common ground with Jeffrey Griffin, Thompson's agent, has baffled Browns president Carmen Policy.
"We're running out of time when it comes to Chaun," Policy said. "The feeling of the coach (Butch Davis) is that he has missed so much of the intense work of training camp that he's approaching the danger point of truly not being able to catch up to a group of young veteran linebackers that are going into their second season with the team."
Moore signed a five-year contract worth $3.455 million. The signing bonus is $1.54 million and the 2003 base salary is $225,000. Michigan linebacker Victor Hobson, signed one spot after Thompson by the New York Jets, received a five-year contract similar to Moore's. Hobson's total deal is worth $3.435 million and includes a signing bonus $1.52 million.
Policy said that if Thompson doesn't agree to terms before Friday, the team will change the financial part of the offer. The Browns won't change the length of the offer.
According to Policy, Davis feels that Thompson has fallen behind enough that he probably won't be a factor much this season at linebacker, assuming he signs.
"This is a deal that should have been done before training camp," Policy said. "This has the possibility of being counterproductive for the player and for the team. Counterproductive in a way that will impact this player's ability to contribute this year."
CAMP TIDBITS: Jamel White was back on the field for Wednesday's practice. He no longer has had headaches from the mild concussion he suffered last Saturday.
Rookie receiver C.J. Jones caught several passes in the afternoon practice. His best grab came on a deep corner route on a throw by Nate Hybl. Jones had to reach back for the ball but was able to pull it in with one hand.
Receiver Andre Davis sat out practice with a sore right knee. If his knee is better today, he's expected to participate in practices against the Bills Friday.
Butch Davis singled out the defensive backs for their practice showing. Daylon McCutcheon, who has taken on the role of leader as a fifth-year player, has been around the ball all camp.