One of the underrated Browns storylines so far this summer has nothing to do with the quarterback position.
In fact, it has nothing to do with the offensive side of the ball.
No, this underrated storyline has to do with Perrion Winfrey.
We’ve heard nothing but promising things about the fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma.
And it’s not like there’s been any fallout in the media between Winfrey and the Browns.
Why is Winfrey still unsigned?
According to SB Nation’s Thomas Moore, a potential source of Winfrey’s contract issue might be 1300 miles south, in Houston, Texas.
Earlier in the offseason, the Texans gave running back and 2022 fourth-round pick Dameon Pierce a $4.5 million deal.
But, Texans general manager Nick Caserio threw in a little side cash in the form of a $25,000 workout bonus.
Caserio likely did this to skirt the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, which specifically lays out how much a rookie can earn based on their draft selection slot.
How does this affect Winfrey?
“Pierce was selected one pick before Winfrey, so the Texans may have ruffled some feathers with the contract they handed to Pierce. But looking at Over The Cap’s rookie pool estimate, Winfrey’s projected contract is a four-year deal worth an estimated $4.6 million and a signing bonus of $956,856.
It seems that the extra $25,000 the Texans slipped into Pierce’s pocket may be holding up a few other contracts, Winfrey’s included. Other than that, it is hard to pinpoint one area that would be a sticking point between the two sides.”
If the Browns are squabbling with Winfrey over $25,000, then this deal should get done soon.
— MJ in cleats (@DeshaunMJWatson) July 18, 2022
Cleveland has plenty of cash remaining, even after biting $10 million of Baker Mayfield’s contract post-trade.
For whatever it’s worth, 18 other players across the NFL are still working out the specifics of their rookie deal, so the Browns aren’t alone.
Let’s hope the deal happens soon, considering how high some are on Winfrey’s ability.
NFL.com named Winfrey to its preseason “All-Rookie” team and those in the Browns’ building sound pumped to get Winfrey started.
Here’s Cleveland’s defensive line coach Chris Kiffin on Winfrey:
“This is a guy we’re really excited about. We’re excited to get him in the building. He’s a scheme fit for us … He’s going to bring a lot of energy, and he wants to work when he’s out there.”
Winfrey should have ample opportunity to prove himself, even as a rookie.
There are some seven tackles competing to start, including Winfrey, however.
Nick Chubb: 233 missed tackles forced on runs since 2018
1st among RBs 💪 pic.twitter.com/7u1mmK8vWy
— PFF (@PFF) July 18, 2022
But while Taven Bryan and Jordan Elliott might have taken the lion’s share of snaps at tackle for the Browns earlier in the spring, Winfrey could give each a run for their money.
Winfrey is a high-energy player who already has the hearts of fans after his introductory press conference.
Seeing him excel on the defensive line could be the perfect start to a promising career.