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Browns reportedly rework Jack Conklin’s contract

Cleveland guarantees $8 million of Conklin’s salary as he works his way back from a major injury.

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns have reportedly reworked the contract of right tackle Jack Conklin to provide both Conklin and the team some security heading into the 2022 season.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Cleveland is converting the $12 million in non-guaranteed money on the final year of Conklin’s deal into a fully guaranteed $8 million with an additional $4 million in play-time incentives.

That gives the Browns an extra $4 million in cap space to work with, according to Yates, while providing Conklin with a secured payday while he works his way back from the torn patellar tendon he suffered in Week 12 of last season.

The move is a solid one for both sides, but the Browns still need to address the tackle position in the offseason. Injuries to Conklin, left tackle Jedrick Wills and swing tackle Chris Hubbard last season left the Browns having to turn to Blake Hance (a team-high 31 pressures allowed and a team-low 36.9 grade in pass protection from Pro Football Focus) and James Hudson III (a PFF grade of 61.8 as a run blocker and 57.9 in pass protection).

And while Conklin is reportedly “ahead of schedule” in his rehab, the reality is that his injury is not an easy one to recover from for a player.

It is a few years old, but a 2016 study by Harry Mai, an MD candidate at the Charles Drew/University of California Los Angeles Medical Education Program in Manhattan Beach, Calif., puts a little bit of a damper on Rosenhaus’ enthusiasm.

In the study, Mai and his team looked at 559 NFL players who underwent orthopedic procedures from 2003 to 2013. The procedures studied were ACL reconstruction, Achilles tendon repair, patellar tendon repair, cervical disc surgery, lumbar discectomy, sports hernia repair, knee microfracture, open reduction-internal fixation of radius, ulna, and ankle, and lower extremity long bone fractures.

The study found that NFL players whose injuries involve tendons and ligaments, like Conklin, fared worse than players who dealt with bone injuries.

Even if Conklin does make it back onto the field this fall, he may not be ready to go when the season opens, so the Browns need to have a solid plan in place for his position in case his recovery lingers into the season or he struggles when he does eventually return.