The Berea Chronicles: Rookie Contract Updates

John Taylor comes up with the goods once more today, giving you the latest on some of the Cleveland Browns contract talks with their draft picks. Plus, a Ty Law update, more feedback on Shaun Rogers, and a denial about a recent story concerning a new Browns free agent.

Just to update the progress of talks with a couple of the Browns' five draft picks, The Orange & Brown Report spoke with Blake Baratz, agent for sixth-round pick Paul Hubbard, and Butch Williams, agent for seventh-round pick Alex Hall, earlier this afternoon.

Baratz told The OBR that talks with the Browns are ongoing, and he will next meet with the club later this week. The agent for the wide receiver added that he most recently last spoke with the Browns yesterday.

When asked if his client would be signed and in camp on time, Baratz only allowed: "That's my goal for all of my clients."

Meanwhile, Williams sounded a bit more optimistic that a contract for his client can be wrapped up in relatively short order, telling The OBR that he "thinks a deal could be done by the end of the week."

---From a Browns source, regarding free-agent pickup Shaun Rogers: "People have no idea how much of a difference (Rogers) will make on this defense this year.  He is one of the most impressive defensive players I've ever been around, and his mindset right now is to be an absolute beast on the field this year.  When his mind's in (the game), he's an absolute beast."

---The Browns remain in regular contract with both Ty Law and his agent, with their last contact coming around the end of last month/beginning of this month.  As has been reported ad nauseam, the sticking point between the two sides – and with other teams as well – remains Law's perceived open-market worth versus how high teams are willing to go financially for an aging corner.

---From the "WTF?" department: a league source has informed The OBR that the agent for Jereme Perry has approached the Browns about a long-term deal for his client.  (Insert your own joke here.)

---Should a defensive lineman suffer an injury during training camp or early on in the pre-season schedule, remember the name "Orpheus Roye".  While the split earlier this year was not exactly amicable, a source close to Roye tells The OBR that the Browns have remained in contact with the lineman's agent.  That open line of communication has Roye prepared to rejoin the club if the need should arise and the veteran has yet to sign with another club.

---Let's get this out of the way right now, before the report from the Boston Globe becomes an urban legend: Donte' Stallworth did not turn down more money from a non-contender in order to sign with the Browns this off-season.

At least not the all-important guaranteed kind of money that rules the NFL world right now, anyway. 

Yes, according to multiple sources, Stallworth received two "offers" from teams that were worth more than the seven year, $35 million he ultimately received from the Browns.  However, the sources said, the Browns offered far and away more guaranteed money than any other club that showed an interest in the receiver.

Stallworth received a little more than $10 million in guaranteed money from Cleveland; no other team offered him more than $7 million in guarantees.

---Gotta give a shout-out and BIG UP'S to something the esteemed Lane Adkins wrote in the last day or two:

"Different observers have different standards, but, to me, Gary Baxter on the field practicing is a successful return for the player."



I hope people appreciate what Baxter is doing is borderline miracle.  Given his injury, he should not even be thinking about playing NFL football, let alone having a realistic shot at being a contributor to a playoff-hopeful team.

As a current member of the Browns' 53-man roster told The OBR, "You see a guy like that, just busting his ass, it makes you feel like (feces) if you don't go that extra mile or two.  He's gone through the (feces) he's went through and you don't want to do that extra rep or two?  God only knows if his knees will hold up, but he's given the younger guys an example that they need to remember."

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