BEREA - A roller-coaster day of offers, counteroffers, frustration, anger and disappointment finally ended on a high note Saturday night when William Green ended his five-day holdout and signed a seven-year, $7.85-million contract with the Cleveland Browns.
The deal is based on performance incentives that, if reached, would allow the rookie running back to void the contract after five years.
"We look forward to having the player in camp and are hoping his performance is consistent with the structure and content of his financial package," Browns president Carmen Policy said in a statement released to the press Saturday night.
Ironically, Green and agent Tom Condon turned down a five-year deal worth $7.85-million earlier in the afternoon. That contract would have paid the 16th overall pick 10-percent more than the New York Jets gave the 16th pick of 2001, Santana Moss, prior to the start of last season. Condon countered by asking for almost $1-million more in total dollar value.
The Browns were upset and frustrated to have an offer rejected that they considered more than fair. Condon, however, was looking for a agreement that would pay his client more guaranteed money instead of an aggressive, incentive-based plan.
In the end, both sides made out just fine.
In signing Green to a seven-year deal, the Browns benefit by spreading out the pro-rated portions of the signing bonus over a seven-year period, reducing the hit on the salary cap. That will allow the team to aggressively pursue new deals with Pro Bowl linebacker Jamir Miller and wide receiver Kevin Johnson.
According to a source within the Browns organization, the Browns are now "very serious" about re-working deals that will keep Miller and Johnson in Cleveland.
Green gets a bigger signing bonus and still tops out with a deal worth significantly more than the 16th pick received last year. According to Policy, the guaranteed money Green will receive is 6-percent higher than Moss' contract, and the incentives in the first three years of the deal would significantly raise Green's base salary for years four and five.
Green was the only player not in Berea for the first two days of full squad work Friday and Saturday. He also skipped three days of practice for rookies and selected veterans. In all, Green missed six practice sessions. He was missed by his teammates, who were anxious to see if the back who ran for 1,559 yards and 15 touchdowns in his final college season could solve the Browns' rushing woes.
"You definitely want (Green) here," said quarterback Tim Couch. "He's the first-round pick and you want him in here as soon as possible to see what he's got now that the pads are on. He looked great in the offseason, but you want to see your running back when the pads are on and see how he makes guys miss. I'm excited to see him play. I think he is going to be a
Green is expected to be on the field in Berea from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. for today's only practice session. He should also participate in Monday's afternoon's full-squad scrimmage
O'HARA IN THE LEAD ... Shaun O'Hara is ahead of Barry Stokes and Paul Zukauskas in the battle for the starting left guard job. Stokes was signed as a free agent from Green Bay in the offseason, presumably to
take over at left guard. Instead, O'Hara has opened camp as the starter with Stokes working on the second team.
"(O'Hara) is working as the starting left guard right now," said Davis. "He is very athletic. He has very good mobility. He pulls well. He is smart. He is
fundamentally very sound ... Just watching him, we felt that he deserved an opportunity to get a chance to start."
EARLY REST FOR COUCH ... The Browns have learned their lesson. After watching Tim Couch suffer from mild tendentious during each of his first three training camps, the Browns have decided to cut down on the
amount of balls Couch throws early in this year's camp. Couch was in full pads, but did not throw the ball during Saturday's morning workout.
"Last year we probably over-threw him in some of the non-essential types of things, just going out and throwing ball drills and things like that," said
Davis. "We want to make sure he is really crisp when we get to Rochester (for an Aug. 3 scrimmage with the Buffalo Bills) ... When we (scrimmaged) Buffalo last year, he was a little arm weary."
Green; The Details and More
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