June 24, 2016


Browns: Joel Bitonio has deal, Justin Gilbert is lone unsigned pick

BEREA — Five of the six players selected by the Browns in the NFL Draft are now under contract.

Second-round pick Joel Bitonio, a tackle from the University of Nevada, signed a four-year pact worth more than $5 million Sunday afternoon.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder was the No. 35 overall choice following a 53-game career with the Wolf Pack. He started his final 38 NCAA games — making 26 appearances at right tackle and 12 at left tackle — but is projected to be Cleveland’s starting left guard.

Bitonio suffered a sprained ankle during an organized team activity June 3, forcing him to sit out the Browns’ mandatory minicamp one week later. Coach Mike Pettine said he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp July 26.

With Bitonio now in the fold, top pick Justin Gilbert is the only unsigned member of Cleveland’s 2014 draft class. The Oklahoma State cornerback was the No. 8 selection in the first round and is expected to agree to terms shortly.

The Browns’ other first-round pick, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, signed a four-year contract — with a fifth-year team option — valued at $8.25 million six days ago. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner was the No. 22 overall choice.

Iowa linebacker Christian Kirksey (third round, No. 71), Towson running back Terrance West (third round, No. 94), and Lindenwood cornerback Pierre Desir (fourth round, No. 127) each inked their initial professional contracts in early June.

All six of Cleveland’s picks will be in Northeast Ohio this week for the NFL Rookie Symposium. A total of 256 draftees from around the league will spend four days at the Bertram Hotel in Aurora, attending seminars and learning what the off-field expectations are for them this fall.

The rookies also will conduct two Play 60 Youth Football Clinics at the Browns’ training facility in Berea. The NFC event is Tuesday, while the AFC session is Friday, but both are closed to the public.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.