During the regular season, I pointed out that one of the players who the Cleveland Browns should work toward drafting a contract extension for is RB Isaiah Crowell. On Friday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network provided the latest on the Crowell negotiations:
#Browns were in heavy talks on a deal for Isaiah Crowell this season, source said, but a stalemate now. Can a meeting next week solve it?— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 20, 2017
We learned several things from Rapoport’s tweet. First, the Browns were in serious discussions this past season with respect to trying to extend Crowell’s contract. Perhaps it was around the same time when they got a contract extension done with CB Jamar Taylor. At some point, though, the two sides ended in a stalemate that they decided they’d revisit later on. Per Rapoport, the two sides are set to meet in the coming week.
Here is the deal with Crowell. He was an undrafted free agent in 2014, but basically became the team's starting running back right off the bat. That means Cleveland was spending very little money at the position -- Crowell's base salaries over the past three years were $420,000, $510,000, and $600,000.
Crowell is a restricted free agent, so if they can’t reach a contract extension with him, then they’ll have to place either an original round tender (~$1.8 million), second-round tender (~$2.75 million) or a first-round tender (~$3.9 million) on him.
Cleveland could take the stance that no other team will sign Crowell to the type of deal that they wouldn’t be willing to match. If that were the case, then it makes sense to offer him the lowest tender of around $1.8 million. Given that an injury could cripple a running back at any time, and how little money he’s made in his first three years, it might be worth it for Crowell to eventually give in and take whatever guaranteed money Cleveland is willing to offer him on a long-term deal.
Following Crowell's career, it's tough to place a value on him. He's never run for 1,000 yards in a single season, but that can be attributed to the fact that he's never given 20 carries in a game. This past season, he also showed some great value as a receiving back. I’ll do some more research on what type of deal I would offer Crowell in the coming days.