J.R. Rickert, the agent for Pro Bowl return specialist/receiver Josh Cribbs, said that the Cleveland Browns’ final offer in the ongoing contract negotiations between Cribbs and the team have left him no choice but to demand a trade.
Cribbs, who set an NFL record for career return touchdowns this season and was promised a new deal above his veteran minimum contract by previous team management, was offered a new deal with an average salary of $1.4 million per season on a six-year deal, according to Rickert, with roughly $400,000 to sign. Cribbs, who is signed through 2012, has been working with the team in an effort to get a new contract since before the season began.
“We’re going to formally put in a request for a trade,” Rickert said. “He will not set foot in that facility again. If they had offered even something like $2.5 million per season we could have worked with them, but to me this offer is indefensible.”
Rickert said that team executive Dawn Aponte told him the offer was final and would not change, and that new team president Mike Holmgren was in agreement with her on the offer.
“Dawn said this was it, this was their offer,” Rickert said. “She said it would be 1.4 today, 1.4 in March and 1.4 in August.”
Rickert said he asked the team if they needed or wanted more time to consider things, especially with Holmgren just coming on the job, and that he told Aponte if she did not change the offer or request more time to negotiate by 5 p.m. Wednesday, he was going to take the unusual tactic of making the offer public.
“I didn’t feel like we had any other choice than to let the Browns fans know exactly what was going on,” Rickert said, “and let them know why Josh was preparing to leave.”
Darren Sproles, who has shined as a returner and at times as a running back also, is the top specialist, making $6.6 million in 2009 on a franchise tag. Devin Hester, who got an extension with three years left on his rookie deal, is making about $5.8 million per season. Miami’s Ted Ginn, a modest comparable to Cribbs at best, averages $3.5 million on his rookie deal.