It has come to my attention, thanks to twitter and Joshua Cribbs himself, that the contract negotiations between him and the Browns are not going well. Should we be surprised, or depressed, or both? Quite frankly both, and very angry. It is not like the guy is the best player on the team and a long with Jerome Harrison and the O-Line is probably the only reason we won games this year. Apparently, thanks to WFNY and their Facebook page, Cribbs was seeking $3 million a season. Very reasonable for the star of your team, a lot for a guy that is a return man, but he is so, so, so much more then that to this franchise. He IS the reason we watch them in the middle of a crappy season. He is, arguably, the best return man in the history of the NFL, one of the best special teams players all around in the history of the NFL and a hell of a play maker running and receiving the football in all sorts of plays and formations.
Apparently the team is offering him $1.4 million a year. He is playing on a contract, originally 6 years, that has 3 left on it. The total of that deal was just over $6.5 million. His agent Peter Schaffer, and Cribbs himself, are saying that he is deeply hurt and disrespected by the current offer and unless the team betters it he does not plan to come back to Cleveland.“It’s unlikely the way they’re talking right now,” Cribbs said Wednesday night. “I’m hurt because I don’t want to play for nobody else. But the way they’re talking, they’re leaving me no choice.” His agent went on to say that there is no more middle ground and that he is “extremely shocked” that the team and the new President Mike Holmgren do not realize Cribb’s value to the franchise.“I’m extremely shocked,” Schaffer said. “I have tremendous respect for Mike Holmgren. I know he knows how to put a team together. I was optimistic that with him coming aboard that he would understand and that Josh would be rewarded. To see there is no change in their position is insulting.”
So what I am getting from this, is that Holmgren’s first moves here could be hugely devastating for this team. Not only would it be humiliating for the team if Cribbs walks out on the team like he plans to at this point in time, it would be horrible for the fan base. All Browns fans have been watching and completely invested in this team through the last 10+ years of unsuccessful football, and it would be completely deflating to the fan base and the rest of the roster if Cribbs is not given a new deal that makes him happy. To lose the biggest draw and biggest play maker on the roster after finishing the year strong and going into the off-season with high hopes and new leadership is just not what we need or want to see happening. There might still be hope to keep Josh and make him happy, Holmgren said this on Tuesday.
“I believe players should be rewarded for what they do,” he said. “I have no problems with that at all. What happens though on occasion is our view of how much that should be and the agent’s view of how much that should be differs. We have made an effort.” He went on, “We will continue to make an effort to handle Josh’s situation. I want Josh here.”
While these are just words right now, I find these words much more haunting then I find Holmgren’s words re-assuring.
“I did all the playing I’m going to play on this contract,” he said. “I ain’t doing nothing, I’m not showing my face until it’s right.”
I can’t really offer much more in the way of analysis right now, there is only so much that we know about the situation and the difference on how much Cribbs should be payed according to the agents, the President and Cribbs. This is what Cribbs had to say on Twitter,
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…
It is just really sad to see this early dispute and broken promises by the franchise towards the star of the team. Hopefully they work it out and soon, we’ll have more as it develops. PAY THE MAN! Damn it Cleveland. PAY HIM HIS MONEY!!