August 2, 2014

Looking Back at the Cribbs Contract

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.

  • MattyFos

    Should have traded him before the draft when Oakland was buying high.

  • jimkanicki

    “a hobbled Cribbs isn’t worth a whole lot on gameday.”
    …ok.

    anyhoos, as for why put hobbled cribbs in the game at all? he can catch punts without drama. dawson said it was very windy. guessing that mangini had seen enough of stuckey and haden and free-agent-of-the-week holding his career in their hands.

  • Chris

    I really think the lack of production is because we’re misusing the guy. Line up whichever QB doesn’t have a sprained ankle this week, behind him Hillis and Vickers, and behind them Cribbs. Dare defenders to stop that. Cribbs and Hillis can both run and catch. Both Vickers and Cribbs love to lay people out. If your QB du jour is Wallace, he’s even a run threat.

    But, yeah, his contract is good and he’s a huge asset to the team.

  • MattyFos

    I would like to state that the Browns DO NOT run a wildcat formation with Cribbs. The Browns run a simple college football option run formation.. Cribbs in gun with a Rb to his right.. You really only have two choices, Hand it off for a sweep or run up the gut for a yard. WVU uses this formation A LOT.

    Wildcat is more of a Wing T formation.

  • Harv 21

    Wait, he’s on the team? I distinctly remember that he cleaned out his locker.

    Injuries aside, still believe trying to convert him to a position player other than maybe a third down back is a mistake. His ability to affect the NFL game is not based on precision skills, it’s exploding through oncoming traffic and love of contact, the high speed kamikaze stuff. Better we draft competent receivers and rb’s.

    Last year was “Pay the Man.” Next year should be “Don’t Make Josh Think.” It’s beautiful that the guy wants to play every single down, but they risk watering him down to a jack of all trades/master of none.

  • maNATEe

    We don’t need to “risk watering him down to a jack of all trades/master of none,” but we could at least THREATEN the opposing defense by having him on the field. Force them to pull a guy away from Hillis/Watson/Massaquoi.

  • Believelander

    I love Josh. And he did keep the punt return day almost drama free. Look at how a gust blew a Browns punt onto a Miami blocker’s back. If that ball hadn’t rolled out of bounds, we would have probably picked that up and took it to the end zone.

    Cribbs muffed 1 fair catch, but again, chalk it up to the wind. Plus he fell right on it. Miami had to get lucky.

    wish Hodges could hit opposing blockers with his punts more often..

    And don’t worry about Cribbs. Fields are gonna be messy these last 4 weeks, and someone’s going to make a mistake when he’s holding the ball.

  • Believelander

    and here’s the thing about Cribbs: he’s a testament to the other players to work hard, keep your head down, and get rewarded. The lesson seems to be sticking with rhe youth.

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    Cribbs is definitely not 100%, but how much did the change in rules about 2 or 3 man wedges affect his effectiveness in the return game? Regardless, I think he’s worth what they’re paying him. I’d much rather have a guy like that in the locker room influencing the rookies than guys like Braylon Edwards or Derek Anderson.

  • Shamrock

    I said it he was a special teams player and his obsurd campaign to get more $$$ was a joke. The fact fans were so desperate for a hero fed right into what Cribbs wanted. Now he’s hurt or not as effective simply because the way teams don’t punt to him. Enough said.

  • MattC

    It’s definitely been disappointing to not have the highlight reel material, but hey, for once, at least a down to earth, hard working guy got a good deal. Even if he never returns to his pre-restructured contract form, he definitely brings a lot of intangibles, and that just might be worth the price alone.

    It beats blowing a bunch of money on a jerk like Haynesworth, that’s for sure.

  • mgbode

    Cribbs has been injured this year (even in training camp he was battling injuries).

    now, alot of that may be due to his expanded role. however, the fact that he is going out there after dislocating 4 toes and trying to do what he can to help the team says alot about him.

    i’m going to wait until next year (worked it in here) before really judging him though. want to see him healthy again and he likely won’t be this year.

  • Gren

    Honestly, I’m more than satisfied with Cribbs’ performance this season.

    -Last year was an amazing year, there’s no way to possible for any player to top that. Especially when part of the opposing teams gameplan is to keep the ball out of your hands.

    -The Injury bug. It bites players usually always when it’s least expected (see all of the Browns QB’s this year). I know I’m comparing apples to oranges right now but, look no further than Daniel Gibson. He played great, got hit with the injury bug, and at the beginning of the season was finally back to 100%. In turn, he did phenominal all things considered.

    -Cribbs has done a lot for the community and overall is a guy anyone would love to have on his team. I’ll always give Josh the benefit of the doubt.

    -As a fan, I do wish Cribbs would have gotten paid even more for his work. As a pretend GM, it was a great move to get any player on the cheap, especially considering his year last year.

  • Believelander

    when Cribbs’ guaranteed money was like 7 mil in an uncapped year I’m not squirming. He’s more than a special teams player – he’s just a special player.

    considering he took his first ever wr snaps in 2008, in highly limited fashion, I’m not judging him for his skill position play yet. And you can’t put a price tag on his character and the way he treats his team and town, or leadership.

    More than a special teams player – he’s -the- special teams player.

  • Shamrock

    @14 I don’t settle for mediocrity sorry I can understand being desperate for a winner but nit being blind to facts. I also refuse to make excuses like injuries because they can happen to anyone. Point is nothing about Cribbs has been special at all. Truth is had he produced maybe just 1 or 2 special plays this team could have that many more wins but it doesn’t.

  • Jason M.

    Why are you being so critical of Cribbs? If I remember correctly, I read somewhere that the Browns have one of the best average starting field positions in the league. That’s a direct result of teams not kicking at Cribbs. Sure, he’s not making the highlight reel plays that you’ll see on SportsCenter, but if you actually watch the games he has a huge impact on our field position. He also doesn’t turn it over, which just adds to his effectiveness.

    As for injuries, I think expecting his previous level of production despite the bad luck of injuries is just not being realistic.