Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is close to inking the richest deal for a defensive player in NFL history, and not everyone is happy about it — especially Pittsburgh Steelers followers.
Not only are the Steelers a rival franchise of the Browns, but Garrett is less than a year removed from a violent incident against Pittsburgh that landed him in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. During the waning moments of a Week 11 matchup, Garrett ripped off the helmet of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and partially struck him with it. The incident resulted in an indefinite suspension for Garrett, which ended up being six games. He was reinstated this offseason by the NFL. The Browns and Steelers were each fined $250,000 by the NFL as well, and Garrett lost just over $1.1 million for his actions in fines and lost game checks.
The Browns have supported Garrett every step of the way, the contract extension just being the latest example of their admiration for the former No. 1 overall pick.
“We welcome Myles back to our organization with open arms,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said via a statement following Garrett’s reinstatement. “We know he is grateful to be reinstated, eager to put the past behind him and continue to evolve and grow as a leader. We look forward to having his strong positive presence back as a teammate, player and person in our community.”
Pittsburgh Radio Host Rips Browns, Myles Garrett
While the Browns have moved on, Pittsburgh radio personality Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan had nothing nice to say about Garrett after the news spread of his new deal.
“Myles Garrett should still be suspended. The fact that he’s cashing in makes me sick. A lot of sacks. But not a lot of wins,” Fillipponi wrote on Twitter. “Can go 0-16 with him. That’s how important he is.”
Garrett is one of the most impactful pass-rushers in the league, notching 30.5 sacks in 37 career games. He was on pace to shatter the Browns single-season record last year with 10 sacks though 10 games before getting suspended.
“Myles Garrett commits a heinous act on the field. So what do the Browns do? Let’s reward him with a contract extension,” Fillipponi wrote. “Record-setting $. Way to go Myles! You really earned it! Thanks for blowing up our season in 2019. Here’s a big pay day. Classic Browns!”
He continued: “We’ll see how far that Myles Garrett deal gets the Browns. I know what it will look like against the Steelers. Big Ben’s throwing for 350 and 4 tudders. And Myles is going home with an L. Just like always.”
If all goes as planned, the Browns and Steelers will meet up for the first time next season on Oct. 18 in Pittsburgh. They’ll also face off in the season finale back in Cleveland on Jan. 3, 2021.
Myles Garrett’s Deal to Set New Bar for Defensive Deals
The deal isn’t done quite yet, but the Browns and Garrett are close to agreeing to a 5-year, $125 million contract, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The deal would link him to Cleveland through the 2026 season and he would make $25 million per year once it begins.
“We do see Myles as a long-term member and pillar in our organization,” general manager Andrew Berry told 105.7 the Fan Baltimore in May. “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.”
The extension would move Garrett past Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, who currently the highest paid defender in the league in terms of average annual value at $23.5 million. Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence and Kansas City’s Frank Clark both are over the $20 million mark as well. Rams DT Aaron Donald is on a $135 million contract he signed in 2018 and he makes $22.5 million annually.