Joshua Cribbs waited all season for a new contract after supposedly being promised a new contract by the old regime of (the Romeo Crennel days). He didn't get it prior to this season because he had to "prove himself" to head coach Eric Mangini and the new regime. Cribbs played his heart out all season long; he was the only reason we were competitive in a few of our games. In the final four games of the season, he and Jerome Harrison were making the highlight reels every week, resulting in the team's first four game winning streak since 1994.
Reports came in that new team president Mike Holmgren was anxious to get a new deal done with Cribbs.
So, how did that go?
"They need to treat him fairly or he'll never play for the Browns again,'' said agent Peter Schaffer. "He will demand a trade and he will walk out of there and they won't see him for the off-season -- they won't see him ever again.''
Schaffer and Cribbs reportedly have considered the Browns' offer of $1.4 million a year an "insult." Quite frankly, after all of the build-up throughout the season, and compared to what other players have received (Devin Hester, $5.45 million), the low-ball offer definitely sounds like an insult. It's also not the type of way you want the Holmgren era to start in Cleveland -- losing not only the most popular player on the team, but one of the most widely-recognized players in the NFL now.
Cribbs also tweeted the following shortly after the reports above were released:
"Thanks everyone, I love playing for the browns & put my all in to it, but it doesn't look good 4me at this point on returning...
I don't believe I made the to do list for the team in 2010...."
Thanks to Roger Dorn for the tip.
Hopefully the team gets their act together and puts together a much more lucrative deal as soon as possible. Cribbs was much more valuable than half of the draft picks in the league last season; seeing millions thrown at players who never even see the field compared to a player who goes all out at several positions should raise a red flag in itself.
It's almost like the following has happened:
-Receive a low contract
-Bust your tail off all season
-Repeatedly be told that you've done well enough to warrant a new deal
-Receive national recognition weekly
-At the end of the season, you're offered a slight pay increase
That's not what Cribbs signed up for, and the Browns' front office darn well knows that. Last season, the excuse could be used that Cribbs did need to impress a new staff. This time around, Holmgren should not be taking the time to evaluate the situation over an extended period of time. If he hasn't seen the impact Cribbs has had on the Browns and against other teams' gameplans, then he's already been too out of touch with football for my liking. I think he's trying to establish himself by making progressive negotiations with Cribbs, but for this special case, the approach is only going to lead to bitterness.
UPDATE (11:45 PM): NFL.com's Jason La Canfora has this update on the Cribbs situation:
“We’re going to formally put in a request for a trade,” Rickert said. “He will not set foot in that facility again. If they had offered even something like $2.5 million per season we could have worked with them, but to me this offer is indefensible.”
Rickert said that team executive Dawn Aponte told him the offer was final and would not change, and that new team president Mike Holmgren was in agreement with her on the offer.
“Dawn said this was it, this was their offer,” Rickert said. “She said it would be 1.4 today, 1.4 in March and 1.4 in August.”
Rickert said he asked the team if they needed or wanted more time to consider things, especially with Holmgren just coming on the job, and that he told Aponte if she did not change the offer or request more time to negotiate by 5 p.m. Wednesday, he was going to take the unusual tactic of making the offer public.
“I didn’t feel like we had any other choice than to let the Browns fans know exactly what was going on,” Rickert said, “and let them know why Josh was preparing to leave.”