Newswire: Follow the Money

Ross Verba wants more cash. Thank goodness we can all pitch in and help!

Here are more links to news stories mixed in with a bunch of whinin... er... professionally-written commentary . This all from a guy who thinks that Special K with styrofoamed-Red Berries is darn good breakfast dining. Readers seeing this page on Yahoo! might want to head to to get the version with all kinds of nifty links to news stories...

From where I'm sitting, May is a very, very long month.

Maybe it just seems that way if you have a family, a tight household budget, get paid at the end of the month, and - here's the real tragic bit - are also a Cleveland Browns fan.

The month of May, you see, is the time when Cleveland Browns demand payment-in-full for season tickets.

This is, for many working families, a non-trivial amount of cash to have to spend, particularly on a luxury item like tickets to football games.

The team has fans where they want them, however. Having popped for PSLs, all it takes is a few reminders about the "Cleveland Browns Season Ticket Waiting List" to make one remember that failure to pay means those seats are gone forever.

As a result, the yearly bill for season tickets smashes into a limited family budget in much the same way that the asteroid which wiped out the dinos was supposed to have smashed into the Earth.

The impact is furious and loud. A dark cloud of gloom spreads outward from the gaping hole. The herd is thinned as food supplies vanish, and starvation spreads across the land. The carnage was, and is, horrific.

At least that's the scenario painted by my teenage son, who isn't finding his preferred foods in the refrigerator.

While my son comes to grips with the unavailability of pizza, Ross Verba is coming to grips with his own mass extinction event, namely, the realization that other left tackles are making more than he is.

Verba, who will make $2.925 million this year and next according to his contract, would prefer to be paid like an elite left tackle. He reportedly wants $38.5 million over five years.

In his defense, Verba did a favor for the Policy/Davis Browns, who asked him to tear up his contract and arrange a more cap-friendly deal following a year lost due to injury. Verba says he was promised a new contract after last season in return for tearing up his old deal.

Unfortunately, the new regime has limited enthusiasm for being held to handshake agreements made by people who bolted town with their own armored trucks full of cash. Verba is trying to convince them to honor Davis' promises by not working out.

Somewhere, somehow, to someone, this all makes perfect sense.

Meanwhile, Len Pasquarelli reports that the team has determined that they will want to snag $2-4 million back from Winslow. Before you update your salary cap worksheets, keep in mind that the team reportedly hasn't started negotiating with Winslow and that Pasquarelli isn't exactly hanging around Berea to go dumpster diving for crumpled-up memos.

So, someone apparently told Len or one of his oompa-loompas that the Browns will want to get some money back from Winslow. 

Well, duh.

The tricky bit will be to see what happens when the Browns break this news to the Postons. We've been saying on Ask the Insiders and the radio show that we expect the Browns to ask Winslow for money back this year, but to provide him with opportunities to make that money back in the future if he gets healthy and produces. That prognostication is unchanged this morning.

All of this is not big deal, however, now that Winslow has apologized via a press release. His apology was not only well-distributed, but it was also "humble", which I guess is a good thing since cocky apologies get on my nerves.

Winslow will make his next appearance in front of the public at the Jim Brown Roast. You can see it if you have $150 or so to spend per seat.

So, let's review:

  • Ross Verba isn't happy with $6 million in the next two years and wants $40 million over the next five instead.
  • TE Kellen Winslow may be forced to give back a portion of $9 million worth of bonuses because he decided popping wheelies was a good way to spend some of his apparently voluminous free time.
  • Winslow is here because he was drafted by a guy who is being paid $12 million to try to avoid coaching the Browns.  Believe it or not, Verba's holdout is apparently based on the promise made by that same guy.
  • Carmen Policy was awarded 10% of the team due to brilliant decisions like hiring the guy who is making $12 million not to coach. That's been sold, and now he is waiting patiently for his palatial winery and estate (located on some of the planet's most expensive real estate) to be finished from atop a penthouse apartment in San Francisco.
  • Season tickets to Browns games, which allow one to purchase $6 beers and and watch the game live, suddenly got more expensive during the off-season.
  • Part of that season ticket money likely is used to fund a competitor to Bernie's Insiders magazine, whose sales are intimately tied to my son's pizza resources.

There you have it. A consipiracy to rob my son of his constitutionally-protected rights to scarf down cheese pizza.

Seriously, I love the Cleveland Browns. Nothing will stop me from loving the Cleveland Browns because of what they mean to this town and what they have meant to me.

Sometimes, just sometimes, though, I feel like I should rip up one of my own contracts with the team.

But I know that someone will just take my place.

- BDMc

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