Throughout this offseason, there has been much talk about the Browns approaching Orpheus Roye regarding a contract restructure/pay cut.
Those rumors finally came to fruition earlier this month, The Insiders has learned.
According to Roye's agent, Phil Williams, Browns' assistant director of football operations Lal Heneghan phoned him two weeks ago and, following a lengthy conversation, faxed a proposal for a restructured contract. The proposal included the dreaded "PC" words -- pay cut.
Williams responded to the proposal "three or four days later" with his own restructured deal -- which also included a pay cut -- but has yet to hear back from Heneghan or anyone else from the organization.
While Williams would not give the specifics of the pay cut that was included in either proposal, he did allow that the two sides "weren't drastically apart" on the monies involved. He also stated that the amount of reduction sought by the Browns was "less than 50%" of Roye's 2002 base salary of $3.6 million.
Where the two sides are apart, at least to this point in the talks, is the inclusion of a March 1 roster bonus.
The Browns' offer did not include the bonus, while the one submitted by Williams did. The agent strongly hinted that Roye would not accept any type of restructured deal that did not include the early-March bonus as protection.
"We need assurances that this will not happen again next year. We don't want to go through the same situation next year that we're going through this year," Williams told The Insiders, regarding the rumors that Roye may become a June 1 cut.
If Roye has a March 1 roster bonus, the Browns would have to make a decision by that date on whether or not to keep him. If they decide to pass on the bonus, Roye would become a free agent at the start of the signing period, as opposed to waiting until June when most clubs have seen their cap reserves all but dried up.
Roye already has two separate roster bonuses included in his original contract -- one in 2004, then another in 2005 -- but Williams is insisting that there be protection for his client next year as well.