Around the NFL
Trouble looming in Cleveland
Posted May. 12 at 08:48 PM
Jerome Harrison, D'Qwell Jackson, Abram Elam, Matt Roth and Lawrence Vickers. All are starters for the Browns, and all are among the team's better young players. All are also unsigned restricted free agents, which looks like it's going to be a headache for Mike Holmgren and Eric Mangini.
It's not uncommon for teams to have a player or two seeking a new contract at this point, but the Browns quite a few. According to this story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Elam and Jackson are seeking long-term deals. The others may be as well, although getting them doesn't seem likely.
Harrison, the one most important to fantasy owners, is unlikely to get paid in line with his strong finish to last season, particularly with the team having drafted Montario Hardesty -- who it views as possible feature back -- in the second round. Jackson is critical to the defense and a very productive tackler (and top IDP option), but he's coming off an injury-shortened season.
The players are expected to sit out offseason activities (which begin Monday) and may also sit out the team's upcoming minicamp. They have until June 15 to sign their tenders.
On the bright side, their absence might be good news for players like Hardesty, who can make a play for the starting job. Still, having that many players sitting out a minicamp is a bad sign for the new Holmgren regime, and a worry for Mangini, who clashed with his players at times last preseason.
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