The Cleveland Browns will enter training camp at the end of the month facing several questions about the defensive tackle position.
There is no real standout player among a group that includes Taven Bryan, Sheldon Day, Jordan Elliott, Tommy Togiai, and rookies Glen Logan and Roderick Perry II.
One player that the Browns appear to be high on is Perrion Winfrey, the club’s fourth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma.
The only problem is that Winfrey remains the lone player among the team’s nine-member draft class who has still not signed a contract.
It is a bit rare for players to still be unsigned as teams get ready for the start of training camp given that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and NFLPA has some pretty clear language in it spelling out how much rookies are paid based on where they were selected in the draft.
And the Browns are not the only ones currently in this situation as there are 18 other players across 12 other teams still haggling over their initial contract, with the most notable being linebacker David Ojabo and the Baltimore Ravens, quarterback Matt Corral of the Carolina Panthers, wide receiver Christian Watson and the Green Bay Packers, and quarterback Malik Willis of the Tennessee Titans.
But those players are not Cleveland’s problem, while Winfrey is as he has a clear path to earning some significant playing time and can use all the practice reps he can get this summer.
There have been no reports of animosity between Winfrey’s representatives and Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry, so it is a bit odd that everyone else is on board while Winfrey is still in limbo.
One possible explanation could be found in Houston, where general manager Nick Caserio decided to get clever and sign running back Dameon Pierce, the club’s fourth-round draft pick, to a four-year contract worth $4.5 million, which included a $25,000 workout bonus for next season, according to Texans Wire.
Pierce was selected one pick before Winfrey, so the Texans may have ruffled some feathers with the contract they handed to Pierce. But looking at Over The Cap’s rookie pool estimate, Winfrey’s projected contract is a four-year deal worth an estimated $4.6 million and a signing bonus of $956,856.
It seems that the extra $25,000 the Texans slipped into Pierce’s pocket may be holding up a few other contracts, Winfrey’s included. Other than that, it is hard to pinpoint one area that would be a sticking point between the two sides.
The Browns certainly have the money to get this done and Winfrey clearly has the incentive of earning playing time if he gets to camp on time motivating him to sign his rookie deal.
So, for now, we’ll chalk this one up to one of those strange NFL moments that help fill the offseason until the real news starts to flow from Berea.