Browns seventh-round pick Armonty Bryant receives no guaranteed money in rookie contract

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

Six days after Armonty Bryant was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft, he was arrested for drunk driving. Bryant, who was arrested last October for selling marijuana to undercover police, admitted during June's rookie symposium that he has an issue with substance abuse.

"I would say yes,'' Bryant said via the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "Because I thought at times I was above the game, and that's one thing they’ve been teaching us at the symposium — don’t be above the game. It's a blessing that I’m even here playing this game and living out a dream of mine. So don't take advantage of this, and I feel that’s exactly what I did.''

Bryant was one of the last of the 2013 seventh-round picks to sign a contract and, according to a source with knowledge of the contract details, the Browns did not give Bryant any guaranteed money and his first-year cap hit is currently the only one lower than the amount allocated for the draft slot.

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Overall, Bryant's deal is worth $2.22 million with non-guaranteed base salaries at the league minimum of $405,000 in 2013, $495,000 in 2014, $585,000 in 2015 and $675,000 in 2016. Bryant can earn roster bonuses totaling $60,600 by being on the 53-man roster or injured reserve at certain points in the season.

If Bryant is on the 53-man roster or injured reserve list for 12 games in 2013, he'll receive a roster bonus worth $11,474. If Bryant is on the 53-man roster or injured list for 12 games in 2014, he'll receive a roster bonus worth $16,375. The thresholds of those roster bonuses decrease after two seasons. In 2015, Bryant needs to be on the 53-man roster or injured reserve list for eight games to receive a $16,375 roster bonus. By 2016, Bryant only needs to be on the 53-man roster or injured reserve list for four games to receive the final roster bonus, which is worth $16,376.

A draft pick receiving no guaranteed money in a rookie contract is rare. It happened to two players — Tampa Bay Buccaneers sixth-round tight end T.J. Williams and Dallas Cowboys seventh-round center E.J. Whitley — who were injured during minicamp. Both were expected to placed on injured reserve as rookies and received salary advances of their expected salaries, but those amounts were non-guaranteed.

In 2005, Denver Broncos third-round running back Maurice Clarett signed a contract that contained no guaranteed money. Clarett had off-field issues at Ohio State, which included substance abuse, that continued when he entered the NFL, which turned out to be a career that never got off the ground. Clarett was cut before the end of training camp due to his off-field exploits. Clarett ultimately landed in prison and, after being released for good behavior, is attempting to turn his life around by pursuing a rugby career and speaking to NFL rookies at this year's symposium.

Bryant said that Clarett's speech hit home.

"He never got to play an NFL game," Bryant said via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal. "So I’m thinking, 'Who knows? That could be me.' So I’m not going to do anything right now to mess up that chance."

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