The Cleveland Browns have young players nearing the end of their rookie contracts.
Most notably and urgently is running back Nick Chubb who enters the final year of his contract in 2021 and could be a free agent in 2022.
Less urgent but still concerning is that cornerback Denzel Ward and quarterback Baker Mayfield are entering their fourth contract year.
Both 2018 first-round picks have already had their fifth-year options exercised so they are definitely with the Browns through the 2022 season with potential free agency on the horizon in 2023.
GM Andrew Berry does not discuss the organization’s plans for these players; however, we learned a critical piece of information today through Chubb and Ward.
#Browns Nick Chubb and Denzel Ward both said their agents have been in talks with the team about contract extensions.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) June 15, 2021
In their press conferences during the first day of minicamp, both said their agents had been contacted by the Browns to discuss their contracts.
#Browns CB Denzel Ward said his agent has had contract extension talks with team. Wants to stay but said focus is on playing, won't be distracted if talks linger into season.
He's signed through 2022 but eligible for extension.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) June 15, 2021
Chubb And Ward Want To Stay In Cleveland
In a refreshing change of pace from Browns players in years past, both Chubb and Ward expressed a strong desire to stay in Cleveland.
“Cleveland is where I want to be.”
#Browns Nick Chubb said “this is where I want to be” when asked about his future. pic.twitter.com/8I9luJ41VI
— Fred Greetham (@FredGreetham) June 15, 2021
Ward who is a Cleveland native echoed what Chubb said.
He also went so far as to say in a perfect world, he would retire a Cleveland Brown.
“Perfect world, I’d definitely want to be a Brown for the rest of my career. I’m from Cleveland. They drafted me. I enjoy being a Cleveland Brown and giving them everything I’ve got.”
#Browns CB Denzel Ward: "Perfect world, I'd definitely want to be a Brown for the rest of my career. I'm from Cleveland. They drafted me. I enjoy being a Cleveland Brown and giving them everything I've got."
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) June 15, 2021
Wyatt Teller And Ronnie Harrison Also Have Expiring Contracts
In addition to Chubb, Wyatt Teller and Ronnie Harrison’s rookie contracts expire at the end of the 2021 season.
Teller, the 166th player in the 2018 NFL Draft, came to the Browns via a trade with the Buffalo Bills in the 2019 season.
Part of the success of the Browns running game under Chubb and Kareem Hunt is because of Teller’s superior play.
Harrison, the 93rd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, was traded to the Browns from the Jaguars in 2020.
Berry will need to spend a lot of money to keep all of these players if he chooses to go that route.
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