Cribbs' Contract Saga Set to Begin

Is Josh Cribbs a returner, quarterback, wide receiver, or a safety? Whatever he plays, there's no denying that Cribbs is a star and a key component of the Browns attack. But will he get paid? Or hold out? John Taylor breaks the story...

If the Browns do not show some good faith effort regarding Josh Cribbs' contract situation, it would not be the least bit surprising if you start hearing the words "hold" and "out" grouped together in the not-so-distant future.

Cribbs signed a six-year, $6 million contract extension in November of 2006, and made a fair amount of waves last year about wanting to re-do the deal. A few months later, it seems to be an issue that's just not going to go away of its own volition.

According to a source close to Cribbs, the return specialist doesn't necessarily need a new deal "right at this minute", but he would like to see the club putting forth the effort to revamp a contract he feels he has outperformed. If that doesn't happen, there's a chance Cribbs could make himself unavailable for both OTAs and the offseason minicamps. And, yes, it could even linger into training camp.

That's not likely to happen or even be necessary, a Browns source said, as the new regime has every intention of addressing Cribbs' contract situation. Whether or not their way of addressing the situation matches up with Cribbs' remains to be seen, however.

Cribbs' agent, J.R. Rickert, told The OBR this afternoon that he's not ruling anything out or "taking anything off the table" as it concerns Cribbs' contract and the available options, but gets the sense from the organization that they are going to address the contract in a meaningful way. He would not address the comments made by the source to The OBR, other than to reiterate that no option on their end would be taken off the table.

Rickert spoke with new general manager George Kokinis recently, although there were no contract specifics discussed. The two sides will meet up again at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine, which begins February 18 and runs through the 24th. Rickert has a meeting with Kokinis scheduled for some point during the combine, and said "it would not be wrong to say" that he expects specific contract talks to begin at that time.

One additional, non-contract-related tidbit came out of the conversation with Rickert. According to the agent, Cribbs was in attendance at a meeting "either last Thursday or Friday" involving several players and being led by new head coach Eric Mangini. Rickert did not know what the meeting entailed nor the names of the players involved, but was certain that Mangini part of it.

Additionally, Mangini and owner Randy Lerner have spoken to Cribbs via the phone since Mangini's hiring last month.

Mangini, of course, has come under fire of late for seemingly having little to no contact with his new players. This news seemingly cuts the legs out from under the spate of recent attacks on the head coach.

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