On the eve of rookies reporting to training camp, the Browns agreed to terms of a contract with running back Trent Richardson, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal. The deal was struck late tonight.
Richardson, the third overall pick in this year's draft, received a fully guaranteed four-year deal worth about $20.5 million, including a signing bonus of about $13.3 million, the source said. The contract includes a fifth-year team option.
Richardson’s contract contains no offset language, the source said, which would have prevented the Browns from being required to pay Richardson the remainder of his salary in the event they cut him before the deal expires and he signs with another team.
Teams prefer offset language in contracts because it protects them financially, and players obviously don’t want it. The Browns and Richardson’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, hammered the contract out over the phone.
Now quarterback Brandon Weeden, the 22nd overall pick, is the only member of the Browns’ 2012 draft class who has yet to sign his rookie deal. Weeden is also one of six first-round picks from this year’s draft who remain unsigned. No recent progress has been made between the Browns and Weeden’s agent, another source told the Beacon Journal.
Weeden, who’s in line to receive a four-year deal worth about $8.1 million, would like a fully guaranteed contract. The problem is most players picked in the second half of the first round receive three years guaranteed with the fourth year partially guaranteed, if at all.
Browns General Manager Tom Heckert told reporters during a conference call July 12 that he was “sure” Richardson and Weeden would be in camp on time. NFL rules prohibit players who are not under contract from reporting to camp.
Rookies are scheduled to report to camp Tuesday. Rookies, quarterbacks and select veterans are set to practice Wednesday. All veterans are scheduled to report Thursday, and the first full-squad practice of camp is set for Friday. Camp opens to the public at 8:45 a.m. Saturday.