Brandon Weeden awaits fourth-year guaranteed on his rookie contract
The Cleveland Browns faced a similar situation with last years’ 21st overall pick defensive tackle Phil Taylor who skipped out the initial four days of training camp to drive home his point regarding the fourth-year guaranteed contract. Phil Taylor and the Cleveland Browns closed in on a fourth-year guarantee in the form of roster bonus of $750,000. His base salary was already at $750,000. Thus, Phil Tayolr’s four-year contract was worth a total $8.1 million.
Brandon Weeden is in a particularly tight situation since the NFL eradicated a better part of the prolonged negotiations process through the CBA’s new rookie wage slotting system. According to the rookie wage slotting system, Brandon Weeden is guaranteed for the first three years of his contract, while the fourth-year follows a roster bonus in March. This will encourage the Cleveland Browns to make an early heads-call on whether they will keep Brandon Weeden for the fourth-year. Otherwise the Cleveland Browns will have to release Brandon Weeden early during the offseason so that he has a chance of finding a fit with other teams and securing his spot on the roster.
While Brandon Weeden may not have in hand the guaranteed fourth-year, still he can rest assured that the Cleveland Browns will offer him with the combination roster bonus even if the final year of the contract is not to his liking.
Hence, the mood at the NFL rookie symposium remained cheerful as Brandon Weeden engaged in happy speculations about his contract issues.
"It'll get done,” stated Brandon Weeden. "We’re working. It takes two sides, though.''
Brandon Weeden is hoping that the issue on the fourth-year of the contract will get sorted out well before the training camp, where rookies will report earlier.
However, the Cleveland Browns may opt to take a slower approach even though they have until next month to agree on a contract, since Branson Weeden will certainly not miss training camp based on his starting position that is still facing some competition from quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace.
Last year’s draft selections ranging from the 16th to 20th pick all got a guaranteed year in their contracts. However, the late first-round 2012 drafts selections from 16 to 19 are getting the combination roster bonus. New England Patriots’ overall 21st pick Chandler Jones agreed to a fourth-year without the combination roster bonus on his contract.
Cleveland Browns overall 3rd pick Trent Richardson is also caught in a contract hold-up most likely due to the “offset language.” This policy ensures the Cleveland Browns will be off-the-hook for Trent Richardson’ salary after he is traded to another franchise in the fourth-year. Trent Richardson will likely receive a four-year contact above $21 million.
However at 28, Branson Weeden has further developed talents and is probably at the peak of his career compared to the other younger rookies. Thus, Branson Weeden is able to ask for a more lucrative contract.