With the NFL draft in our rearview mirror (and our 2024 mock draft out the door), we get to turn our attention to the upcoming NFL season.
The Cleveland Browns have added a huge number of players to their roster this offseason. Almost half the roster would be new if all of the free agents and drafted players, not to mention undrafted free agents, make the initial 53-man roster.
After two straight losing seasons, the turnover is likely welcome.
Before rookie minicamp and the return of veterans for mandatory minicamp, the deadline to make a decision on Jedrick Wills’ fifth-year option is today, the Tuesday after the NFL draft. According to an early report, that decision has been made and the Browns will keep Wills under contract for 2024:
Sources: #Browns are picking up the fifth-year option on LT Jedrick Wills. This guarantees a salary of $14.25 million for 2024 for the former No. 10 overall pick pic.twitter.com/OhSvh1l0la— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 1, 2023
The Browns made the move official Tuesday:
We have picked up the fifth-year option for Jedrick Wills Jr.— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 2, 2023
» https://t.co/Eo5dSXzq0C pic.twitter.com/zvTYjL56QQ
While the $14.25 million looks like a big number, Wills will be just the 15th highest-paid left tackle based on this year’s numbers. If other players sign new contracts or extensions, that will push his salary below the median for left tackles.
While Cleveland fans have been frustrated with Wills’ play, it is hard to find even adequate tackle play in the NFL. Rarely do left tackles become free agents or available in trades and finding one in the NFL draft is a crap shoot even in the first round, where the Browns don’t have a selection once again next year.
The selection of Ohio State’s Dawand Jones had some wondering if he would be Wills’ replacement in 2024 but today’s decision makes that highly unlikely.
If Wills performs well early in 2023, it is possible that GM Andrew Berry will start contract extension talks with his first-ever draft pick.
How do you feel about the decision to pick up Wills’ fifth-year option?