Browns Get Ahead of the Spin

<br>Now it gets interesting.<BR><BR>The Browns fired off the first salvo in what may be a brewing media battle with Kellen Winslow, in a press release early this afternoon. The press release paints the Browns as reasonable and fair, while a simultaneous article on the team's official site notes that the Postons rejected the deal.

The Browns today released the following statement from Team President John Collins:

The Cleveland Browns made a contract proposal to Kellen Winslow's agents that will match the offer signed by Sean Taylor, the player drafted ahead of him, and will also allow Kellen the opportunity to equal Taylor's total package.

ven the close personal and competitive relationship between Kellen and Sean Taylor, as well as their equal talent level on different sides of the football, we did not want to penalize Kellen for being picked one slot below his former teammate. Faced with the opportunity to get Kellen in camp on time, we made our best offer," said President and CEO John Collins.

coming up with the offer, the Browns also took a long look at the deal the Kansas City Chief's Tony Gonzalez, a perennial Pro Bowl player, signed just before the start of the 2002 season. The Browns offer provides Kellen Winslow the opportunity to far exceed Gonzalez's compensation.

The team quickly followed with an article on their official site making additional comparisons between the deals reached by Taylor and the contract given to the AFC's top tight end, Tony Gonzalez.

BERNIES INSIDERS ANALYSIS: The end game has begun. The Browns have fired off the first public salvo to get out in front of potential fan and media pressure to get Winslow into camp. By getting their story out first, the team is heading off any attempt the Postons might make to indicate that the team is dragging their feet or being unfair. With the fresh start that the team hopes to achieve with fans, negative publicity at this point in time would undo a lot of hard work.

It is impossible to tell whether the contract agreement will come quickly or whether this is just the first shot fired across the bow in a longer holdout. One thing is clear, however: The negotiations with Winslow have entered a new phase. Now it gets interesting.

- Barry

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