BEREA – General manager Tom Heckert expects the Browns’ five restricted free agents to sign their second-round tenders by the Tuesday deadline.
“I assume they will,” he said at the start of Friday’s second minicamp practice. “There’s no reason not to sign.”
Linebackers D’Qwell Jackson and Matt Roth and safety Abram Elam skipped the organized team activities that spanned the last month and have been absent from mandatory minicamp. They can’t be fined because they’re not officially under contract. Running back Jerome Harrison and fullback Lawrence Vickers haven’t signed the tender but signed a waiver to participate at minicamp.
Heckert said he talked to the agents for all the restricted guys to make sure they got a letter from the Browns saying they will reduce their contract offers if the players miss the deadline. Heckert said none of the agents told him one way or the other if the players would sign the tenders.
League rules allow the team to reduce the offer — $1.809 million for Roth and $1.759 million for the other four – to 10 percent more than the player made last year.
That would be a significant discrepancy for everyone but Elam. Vickers would get about $589,000 instead of $1.759 million. Harrison would get $593,000, Jackson $704,000, Roth $770,000 instead of $1.809 million for a fifth-year player.
Elam, who was also a restricted free agent last year, would get $1.65 million.
The Browns can choose to extend the tenders, which have been in place since March, beyond Tuesday but they are prepared to cut the offers.
“We have leeway, but that’s what our plan is,” said Heckert, who added the notification letters were common practice across the league.
The players have resisted signing the tenders in hopes of getting long-term deals. It also gives them an excuse for missing offseason practice. The Browns, led by newcomer Heckert and new president Mike Holmgren, won’t discuss long-term deals.
Harrison sounded as if he’ll sign by Tuesday.
“Of course I want to stay here,” he said. “I really like it here in Cleveland. I’d by lying if I said I didn’t.
“The fans and the community where I live at is great, it’s awesome. My family likes it here. If it were up to me, I’d stay here and I think I will. I’m just going to go out and play football, let my agent (take care of it) and everything work itself out.”
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