The Browns struck a deal with quarterback Brandon Weeden on Tuesday afternoon, ensuring none of their rookies would miss the start of training camp because of unresolved contract issues.
It’s a first for the organization since Mike Holmgren became its president and Tom Heckert its general manager in 2010. Defensive tackle Phil Taylor skipped the first four practices of camp last summer, and cornerback Joe Haden missed the first two sessions two years ago because their contracts were not completed in time.
The new collective bargaining agreement, which was adopted last year, has streamlined the signing of draft picks by slotting the salaries to correspond with each selection. But some rookies are still late arrivals to camp despite the revamped system, as evidenced by Taylor’s situation.
The streak officially ended for Holmgren’s regime when the Browns agreed to a four-year, $8.1 million deal with Weeden, a league source confirmed. The source spoke on a condition of anonymity, because the team did not disclose financial terms of the deal. As is the case with all first-round picks, the contract also includes a fifth-year team option.
On Tuesday evening, the Browns formally announced the signings of Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft who’s expected to be named the team’s starting quarterback at some point in the near future, and running back Trent Richardson, the third overall pick. Late Monday night, the Browns and Richardson agreed to a four-year deal worth about $20.5 million.
Weeden, a former minor-league baseball player who will turn 29 in October, sought a fully guaranteed contract, something players selected in the second half of the first round rarely receive. The first three years of Weeden’s deal are fully guaranteed, and about $900,000 is guaranteed in the fourth year, Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com reported.
The Browns’ rookies were scheduled to report to camp on Tuesday, and Weeden was able to do so because his contract was finalized by early afternoon. Rookies, quarterbacks and select veterans are set to practice today.
All veterans are scheduled to report Thursday, and the first full-squad practice is set for Friday. Camp opens to the public at 8:45 a.m. Saturday.
The Browns’ 2013 opponents are listed in the NFL Record and Fact Book.
They’re scheduled to play the following opponents at home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and an AFC South team whose place in its divisional standings corresponds with that of the Browns at the end of the 2012 season.
And they’re set to face the following opponents on the road: Ravens, Bengals, Steelers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and an AFC West team whose place in its divisional standings corresponds with that of the Browns at the end of the 2012 season.
The Browns are worth $977 million and rank 30th among the world’s most valuable sports teams, according to Forbes.
The Browns, owned by Randy Lerner, are the 20th most valuable team out of 32 NFL franchises, according to the magazine. They also rank third in the AFC North. The Ravens ($1.09 billion) lead the pack, followed by the Steelers ($1.02 billion), Browns and Bengals ($875 million).
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.