Browns Unlikely to Franchise Tag Offensive Lineman

Getty Images Browns guard Wyatt Telller.

The Cleveland Browns have some big contract decisions to make over the next year at key positions, which includes guard Wyatt Teller.

Teller has become a key cog on the offensive line and is a fan-favorite in Cleveland. He turned out to be a major steal for former Browns general manager John Dorsey prior to the 2019 season, trading just a fifth- and a sixth-round pick to Buffalo in the move. Teller has started 20 of 26 games since, grading out as one of the top interior linemen in the league, being named a second-team All-Pro last year. He finished the year with a 92.9 grade from Pro Football Focus — tops among right guards.

Teller will be a free agent next offseason if the Browns can’t reach an agreement on an extension and franchise tagging Teller doesn’t appear to be in the plans, per Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Franchising Teller could be one option, but the projected franchise tender for offensive linemen in 2022 is almost $17 million, which would make Teller the highest-paid offensive lineman on the Browns. Currently, right tackle Jack Conklin holds that distinction at $14 million a year. $17 million is a big number, especially for a guard, meaning it might be hard to do a franchise-trade deal at that price. It’s also $7 million more than the yearly average of Joel Bitonio, who’s still the Browns’ best guard.


Teller’s Market Value Around $12 Million Per Year

GettyWyatt Teller of the Cleveland Browns.

Bitonio is among the top tier of guards in terms of average annual value, coming in at $8.52 million. Brandon Scherff is currently the highest-paid guard in the league at more than $18 million per year.

Teller is a former fifth-round pick and is set to make $2.18 million next season — more than he made in his previous three seasons combined. The Browns should be able to reach a deal that is agreeable for both sides.

Spotrac estimates Teller’s market value at $47.4 million over four seasons, making his average annual salary $11.8 million. That is a little high if the Browns hope to keep the roster intact, but perhaps Teller would be willing to take a discount for the sake of continuity and — hopefully — winning.

Along with Teller, the Browns have to work on extensions for cornerback Denzel Ward, quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Nick Chubb.


Teller Credits Teammates for Success in the Trenches

Teller has been humble in his success and what has him excited is that he gets to go to battle with the same group of guys as last year. The Browns are returning all 11 starters from last year’s squad on the offensive side of the ball — an incredible feat.

“We have 11 guys on offense returning, which is insane — I’ve never heard of that,” Teller told the Browns official site. “We’ve got the guys in the backfield who can do it at a high level … and if the best D-Line I play is our own team, I’ll be very, very happy.

“I’ve been blessed to be put in a situation where we have great guys around me and I just have to do my job,” Teller added. “I don’t have to do anything else but my job, and that’s a blessing.”

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