The Cleveland Browns and defensive end Myles Garrett have engaged in contract discussions, according to sources, setting the stage for a potential mega-extension for the 2017 No. 1 overall pick.
Garrett has two years left on his rookie contract after the Browns picked up his fifth-year option. He could follow Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, a fellow member of the 2017 draft class who saw his contract extended after three NFL seasons.
The Browns have several core players they might need to pay in coming years — including cornerback Denzel Ward, quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Nick Chubb — so they can get ahead of a pricey pass-rush market now by extending Garrett.
After 10 sacks in as many games last year, Garrett is widely viewed as one of the game’s most feared pass-rushers.
But in 2019, Garrett served a six-game suspension for hitting Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet during an end-of-game skirmish on Nov. 15. Garrett apologized for the hit, calling it a “terrible mistake” that was “selfish and unacceptable.”
The NFL reinstated Garrett in February, and Garrett alleged in an interview with ESPN’s Mina Kimes that Rudolph had called him a racial slur. Rudolph has vehemently denied that claim, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin aggressively defended Rudolph in an interview with ESPN’s First Take, saying he was “hacked off” by Garrett’s comments that neither team corroborated after the fight.
“We do see Myles as a long-term member and pillar in our organization,” general manager Andrew Berry told 105.7 the Fan Baltimore last month. “Great player, great person. Obviously, he did make a mistake last year that he’s learned from. But our confidence in and faith in Myles has not wavered and we’re looking to seeing what he does this year and certainly for years to come.”
Chicago’s Khalil Mack tops all pass-rushers with an average of $23.5 million per year, followed by Dallas’ DeMarcus Lawrence ($21 million) and Kansas City’s Frank Clark ($20.8 million).
Garrett’s agent is Bus Cook, who also represents free-agent pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney, a player Cleveland attempted to sign this offseason. Opposite Garrett is veteran Olivier Vernon, who’s due $15.25 million in base salary this season.