Browns Predicted to Hold Onto Starting Defender for $13 Million

Greg Newsome II, Browns

Getty Cornerback Greg Newsome II of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns have spent this offseason bringing the band back together on defense, a trend that they may well continue following the NFL draft later this month.

That was the prediction from Alex Kay of Bleacher Report during his roundup of fifth-year player options around the league, featuring which contracts teams are likely to pick up and which they are likely to discard. Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II, entering the final season of his four-year rookie contract worth $12.75 million, fell into the former category.

“Newsome may not be a Pro Bowl-caliber defender, but he’s emerged as a steady starter for the Cleveland Browns,” Kay wrote on April 17. “He had his best season as a pro in 2023, recording his first career interceptions along with a career-high 14 pass breakups. That improvement should clinch the Browns picking up his fifth-year option.”

The cost of Cleveland doing so will be just shy of $13.4 million for the 2025 season.

Greg Newsome II Recently Addressed Rumors Browns May Attempt to Trade Him

Greg Newsome II of the Cleveland Browns.

GettyCornerback Greg Newsome II of the Cleveland Browns.

Despite coming off of a career year, Newsome is probably the team’s third-best cornerback behind Denzel Ward and Martin Emerson Jr. The Browns indicated as much by giving those two the starting work on the outside and pushing Newsome into a role as the starting slot corner.

Newsome’s relative demotion and his value as a starting-level defensive back led to more than one trade rumor over the last several weeks, stretching back to before the start of free agency in mid-March. He responded to those rumors directly during an interview with ABC5 on Tuesday, a video of which Scott Petrak of Browns Zone posted to X.

“I don’t pay attention, but obviously my family and stuff tell me and ask me,” Newsome said. “What goes through my head is nothing. I feel like I’m comfortable here. [Andrew Berry] and the ownership and all my coaches know what I’m capable of, they know what I bring to this team, not just on the field, being one of those glue guys — being a guy that’s always energetic, celebrating no matter what. I feel like they know my value. So I wasn’t too worried about that.”

Denzel Ward Speaks Out on Behalf of Browns Keeping Greg Newsome II on Roster

Cleveland Browns star Denzel Ward is ready for playoff action.

GettyCleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward.

Ward also recently spoke on behalf of Newsome in regards to the ongoing trade rumors, adding perspective on why it’s so valuable to have multiple high-level cover CBs on the field at the same time.

“It’s very important [to keep us together],” Ward said during a press conference Tuesday. “I’ve been openly sharing that I want to keep us together. Even AB says all the time that you can’t have enough great corners on a team. That’s real. Guys go down and having the ability to match up with teams across the board. Whether that’s in the slot with Greg or outside with me and Martin. Being able to rotate and do different things. Having multiple No. 1 corners on a team is an ideal situation.”

Newsome did his part to contribute to the Browns’ No. 1-ranked defense in the 2023 regular season, finishing the year as an above-average cornerback by achieving the 55th ranking out of 127 players who qualified at the position, per Pro Football Reference’s advanced analytics formula.

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