The restructured deal for Bryant will pay him $1.75 million guaranteed and could be worth up to $4 million with incentives, per Brad Stainbrook of The Orange and Brown Report. Bryant will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
There has been talk about the Browns trying to trade or even cutting Bryant prior to the season.
“Browns TE Harrison Bryant’s name was raised, and I know the Browns would at least look to other teams on him, with David Njoku entrenched and the 2020 fourth-rounder headed into a contract year,” Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported in May.
The cap penalties would have been minimal — $192,257 in dead cap — if they had decided to move on from Bryant. With the new deal, he’s locked in to provide some additional depth for the Browns next season at the tight end position.
Browns High on New Tight End Jordan Akins
In the 2020 NFL draft, the Browns selected Bryant in the fourth round, joining a tight end group that featured Austin Hooper and David Njoku at that time. Bryant quickly surpassed Njoku on the depth chart and had a solid rookie season, recording 24 receptions for 238 yards and three touchdowns.
Last season — with Njoku atop the depth chart as TE1 — Bryant notched 31 catches for 239 yards, although he only scored one touchdown. He saw action on 48 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, benefiting from Njoku’s absence in three games. However, with the recent addition of Jordan Akins, a former target of quarterback Deshaun Watson in Houston, Bryant’s playing time may potentially decrease even further.
Akins has impressed so far and has built-in chemistry with Watson, which has been evident early on in OTAs and minicamp.
“I can say yes to that,” Akins said when asked if Watson’s presence influenced his free agency decision. “I was looking to be somewhere that I was wanted and had great team camaraderie. When I got here and I came to visit here, it was a perfect fit for me.
“And like I said, I’m reunited with Deshaun, and it’s a good thing.”
Akins is coming off his best year as a pro, catching 37 passes for 495 yards and five touchdowns last season in Houston.
David Njoku: Deshaun Watson ‘Slinging That S**t’
Watson did not look sharp in his six-game stint as the starter last season, although you have to consider the circumstances. He had been away from football for nearly two years and his preparation for his first season with the Browns was not streamlined due to an 11-game suspension.
But Watson has shined in offseason workouts and has caught the attention of his teammates.
“He’s slinging that s**t,” Njoku said at minicamp on Wednesday, June 7. “He’s been very accurate the past two days. Very impressive. Obviously, he has his feet too, and he can run. So, yeah, we’re excited.”
Despite missing three games last season, Njoku set career-highs in receptions (58) and recorded 628 yards to go with four touchdowns.