With rookies scheduled to report to training camp today, the Browns have yet to sign outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo and two other draft picks.
Per NFL rules, Mingo and the other selections, cornerback Leon McFadden and defensive end Armonty Bryant, cannot practice, use any club facilities, attend meetings or otherwise be affiliated with the team until they sign. The Browns won’t begin practicing with their full squad until Thursday, so the organization still has time to finalize the contracts of Mingo and Co. before they would be forced to miss anything of much significance.
Getting McFadden, a third-round pick from San Diego State University, and Bryant, a seventh-round selection from East Central University, under contract shouldn’t be a problem.
On the other hand, sealing a deal for Mingo, the sixth overall pick from Louisiana State University, will be a bit more complicated.
Although the rookie wage scale, implemented in 2011 as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, has streamlined the process of signing draft picks, offset language remains a sticking point for top-10 picks. The offset language debate is holding up Mingo’s deal, a league source said Thursday, speaking on condition on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.
Teams prefer offset language because it allows them to avoid paying a drafted player the full remainder of his salary in the unlikely event he is cut before the expiration of his rookie deal and signs with another team. Players don’t want offset language because it eliminates the possibility that they could be paid in full by the team that drafted them, plus receive whatever salary another team gives them.
Mingo is due to receive a deal similar to the four-year, $16.26 million contract his former LSU teammate, cornerback Morris Claiborne, the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft, signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Claiborne’s contract, which includes a fifth-year option, does not contain offset language.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the eighth overall pick last year, was the only top-nine selection from his draft class to sign a deal containing offset language.
“I think it’s something that’s important,” Browns General Manager Mike Lombardi said of offset language in May at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton. “I think Miami last year was the only team that got it. But I think it’s important.”
This year, only three top-10 picks have signed thus far: Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, the second overall pick; Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, the fifth overall pick; and St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin, the eighth overall pick. None of them have offset language in their deals.
Last month, Mingo repeatedly said he expected his deal would be finalized in time for training camp. Although he won’t report to camp today with a contract, he can still avoid missing full-squad practices if a deal is done by Thursday.
The source said he “definitely” expects Mingo’s contract to be done before then.
The Browns have signed two of their five selections from this year's draft — free safety Jamoris Slaughter, a sixth-round pick from the University Notre Dame, and guard Garrett Gilkey, a seventh-round choice from Chadron State College.
The Browns announced that their radio show, Cleveland Browns Daily, will move from its 6-7 p.m. time slot to 1-3 p.m. weekdays on WKNR (850-AM) and that national sports radio personality Nathan Zegura will join Vic Carucci as a co-host. The changes will take effect Monday.
WKNR’s Je’Rod Cherry also will join the show as a contributing host.
To accommodate the lineup change, WKNR will move The Jim Rome Show to KNR2 (1540-AM). All three hours of the show will air from 12-3 p.m.
Browns director of communications Zak Gilbert announced that he has added Rob McBurnett and D.J. Philippe to his public relations staff and retained Dan Murphy.
McBurnett spent the past three years in the NFL's communications department. Philippe was most recently an intern with the Golden State Warriors.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.