While the Cleveland Browns have yet to officially announce the signing of rookie running back Trent Richardson, the Associated Press is reporting the two sides have come to an agreement on a four-year $20.5 million contract. The deal includes a $13.3 million signing bonus.
Surprisingly the deal is reported to not contain any offset language. What that means is that if Richardson is released before the end of the contract the Browns are still on the hook for the full amount owed to him, even if he signs with another team.
While this may seem like a risky move on the part of the Browns, it is a chance they are willing to take and shows confidence in the young Richardson. Richardson is expected to make an immediate impact on the Browns' offense this season.
Last year the running game could best be described as lackluster as Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty struggled with injuries and Brandon Jackson never had a chance to play a down due to a season-ending foot injury early during training camp. With the lack of a running game and no legitimate key receiver, the Browns' offense led by sophomore quarterback Colt McCoy was doomed from the start. It certainly showed in how the year played out.
With their No. 3 pick locked in, the focus now shifts to their No. 22 pick quarterback Brandon Weeden. Standing in the way of getting Weeden signed is that the 28-year-old rookie quarterback wants all four years of his contract guaranteed whereas players selected later in the first round traditionally see only three years of guaranteed money.
Weeden is expected to lead the first-team offense in camp and eventually be named the starter for the Browns this season. It is imperative on both sides that a deal is worked out sooner rather than later to enable as much practice time as possible. Missed time on the field will hurt both sides and is unnecessary for a team that needs to pull together quickly.
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