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Cleveland Browns

Heckert takes hard line with RFAs

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 17, 2010

Browns general manager Tom Heckert said disgruntled outside linebacker Matt Roth is not going anywhere and took a tough stance with the team's other four restricted free agents.

''We spoke to Drew Friday and again today,'' Heckert said of Roth's agent, Drew Rosenhaus. ''Normally when guys aren't happy with their contracts the first thing that comes out of their mouths is 'Give me a new deal or trade me.' It's not the first time we've heard it and it's not going to be the last.

''It's more negotiations; it's really not a big deal. First of all, it's not going to happen.''

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday that Roth had asked to be traded because the two sides were too far apart on a long-term deal.

Roth was picked up on waivers from Miami on Nov. 25 and finished tied for third on the team with four sacks.

One of five restricted free agents who find their options limited in an uncapped year, five-year veteran Roth received a one-year tender of $1.809 million for 2010.

Four other restricted free agents, those four-year veterans, received one-year tenders of $1.759 million. They are fullback Lawrence Vickers, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, safety Abram Elam and running back Jerome Harrison. Linebacker Jason Trusnik is the only restricted free agent to sign his tender.

If the five do not sign by June 15, the Browns could elect to reduce their tenders and offer only 10 percent raises over their 2009 salaries. Asked if the players have any leverage, Heckert said, ''No.''

''It's easier from our standpoint than it is from theirs. They don't want to hear it,'' Heckert said before appearing at the 30th annual Akron Browns Backers Banquet at Tangier restaurant. ''(Coach) Eric (Mangini) has only been around them for a year and Mike (Holmgren) and I haven't seen them at all. It's tough for us to make a long-term commitment with these guys when we haven't been around them.

''That's not saying they're not good players, but that's tough to do when you're talking about a lot of money.''

Jackson's agent was negotiating a new deal with former general manager Phil Savage before he was fired after the 2008 season. Then Jackson suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Game 6 against Pittsburgh in 2009 and missed the rest of the season.

Asked if what Jackson had been promised made it tougher, Heckert said, ''It does. But we stressed to the agents that this is new. We can't change what happened in the past. We don't even know what happened in the past.

''We're not saying we can't get a deal done eventually, but we want to see them first hand. Hopefully things work out.''


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