Tuesday our own Matt Loede reported that Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas and the Cleveland Browns have reached an agreement on a seven-year, $84 million contract extension. The extension includes a reported $44 million in guaranteed money.
The huge payday makes Thomas the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL and all but ensures that the four year veteran will finish off his career as a Cleveland Brown.
All that money – roughly $32 million to be exact – Browns fans wanted the team to spend this off-season, didn’t go to the ‘big-name’ free agents that were available. Fans wanted established talent in Cleveland, and understandably so. When free agents like Ray Edwards (Falcons), Santonio Holmes (Jets) and Nnamdi Asomugha (Eagles) went to the perspective teams, many fans were left scratching their heads wondering why President Mike Holmgren and General Manager Tom Heckert weren’t making the same moves for the Browns. After all, it’s easy to look at the so-called “Dream Team” in Philadelphia and wonder, “Why couldn’t the Browns do that?”.
Instead of blowing money on veteran free agents, Holmgren and Co. spent money on areas they knew were critical to the team’s success this season and into the future. So far the off-season moves look like this:
Usama Young (FS) – signed via free agency
Brandon Jackson (RB) – signed via free agency
Dimitri Patterson (CB) – signed via free agency
Richmond McGee (P) – signed via free agency
John Greco (OG) – acquired via trade w/St. Louis Rams for undisclosed 2012 NFL Draft pick.
Brett Johnson (CB) – claimed off waivers from Seattle Seahawks
Billy Yates (OG) – resigned (placed on reserve/retired list on 8-15-11)
Brian Schaefering (DL) – resigned
Marcus Benard (LB) – resigned
Evan Moore (TE) – resigned
Jayme Mitchell (DE) – resigned
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