All summer long, the rallying cry around Cleveland was to get Josh Cribbs a new contract. Cribbs had been the best player on the team as he set records in the return game. He was also a leader in the locker room and within the community. Teams don’t necessarily need to reward players for community work, but it helped contribute to the groundswell of support for Cribbs around town. Finally, a deal got done that seemed to make everyone happy, but it is a good thing the Browns didn’t go overboard.
Cribbs’ new deal was listed as three years and around $18 million, but in all actuality, it was about $7 million guaranteed with bonuses. The salary values per season are $688,500 for this season with subsequent years paying him $832,000 and finally $925,500 in 2012 before becoming a free agent as he is about 30 years old.
Even in an uncapped year, it is important to keep the bottom line in mind for the future when the cap comes back. Also, as much as we all love Josh Cribbs for what he has done in the past and his intangibles, it was good recognition by Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert to not overdo it for a player who is in his late 20’s and relies on his explosive abilities to be successful.
As we have seen so far this year, a hobbled Cribbs isn’t worth a whole lot on gameday. Cribbs’ lack of explosiveness in the return game isn’t totally his fault. Even before he got hurt, teams were keeping the ball away from him so he couldn’t take it over on special teams. Still, there is no denying that Cribbs has only 120 return yards on the year so far vs. the 452 he had a year go. While he seemed to be getting the hang of receiver before he went down injured, so far this season he hasn’t been able to get anything going running the ball out of the wildcat.
Even considering all that, I wouldn’t take back Cribbs’ deal if I had the option. That’s pretty much the definition of a good contract.