It's about to get very messy in Browns camp.
Joshua Cribbs skipped the first day of the team's voluntary minicamp and is sending signals that he will demand a trade if his current contract isn't redone.
Cribbs has developed into one of the NFL's most dangerous return specialists. He made the Pro Bowl after his breakout 2007 season, in which he tallied 2,312 total yards. He slipped last year to 1,523 all-purpose yards, but still showed that he could be a threat to take one or two returns to the house every season.
Cribbs is upset about the contract extension he signed in 2006, with his previous agents. It was a seven year deal worth $6.77 million, with a 2 million signing bonus. There are four years remaining on the deal, with base salaries of $620,000 (2009), $635,000 (2010), $650,000 (2011) and $790,000 (2012). There are also “up to $400k” escalators in each remaining year, with the final year's escalator being voidable by the club. He also is eligible for $25,000 in workout bonuses each year.
The biggest source of Cribbs' discontent seems to be the fact that he claims he was promised by former GM Phil Savage, former coach Romeo Crennel AND current owner randy Lerner on multiple occasions that he would have his current deal reworked during the offseason.
Of course, the old regime has been shown the door and Cribbs contract issue was swept under the rug by Mangini/Kokinas. It didn't help matters that the Browns released this statement today -”Contrary to published reports this morning, no one from the current Browns organization, including owner Randy Lerner, has ever made any promises to Josh Cribbs with regard to his contract status.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot reported today that ” Browns receiver Josh Cribbs will definitely ask to be traded if the Browns tell him they won't re-do his contract, multiple sources close to the situation said today.”
She then quoted Cribbs' agent, J.R. Rickert, saying the Browns told him they might be willing to open discussions today. “We exchanged emails Monday night, but there were no proposals made or numbers discussed,'' said Rickert. “We need to have some substantial talks for Josh to show up.''
Rickert said he also has phone records to prove that Browns owner Randy Lerner told Cribbs and his representatives that Cribbs would receive a new deal this offseason. Lerner has said he made no such promise.
She also said a source said Cribbs is upset the Browns are denying such statements were made.
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Written by Ryan Carey