Why does everything in Cleveland have to be so difficult? The snow makes it hard enough to get to work in the morning for the citizens, but on their way they have to hear about how their best player, Joshua Cribbs, has been “snubbed” by an organization for only offering him $1.4 Million on a new contract. Cribbs took to Twitter to air his frustrations, and at first glance, many fans agreed with him. However, as the night progressed it started to turn into a pity-party in which you would have thought that Cribbs’ wife had cheated on him or his dog died. Most of this entire situation is a result of how Cribbs and his agent, Peter Schaffer, have handled it. By taking their side of the story directly to the media/twitter, not only do they risk Holmgren’s potential wrath, but they’ll also start to see some backlash from fans that are notorious for not holding back with their thoughts. What is he going to do, hold out? With the threat of a possible work stoppage in
2011, I highly doubt it. He needs to be talking to Holmgren privately, end of story.
Maybe things would be a little smoother if the Browns bumped that 1.4M up to at least 2.0M. From there, maybe add some incentive clauses so he has a way to make more money. I know Cribbs has been waiting, and waiting patiently, for his new contract and has high aspirations for what he feels is deserved, but considering that Holmgren been on the job for 72 hours and doesn’t have a desk yet, I think it’s fair to say that their tactics of whining through Twitter and Mary Kay Cabot are ridiculous. Both sides are at fault, and the entire situation has dragged on for too long. But training camp is 6 months away…there’s no excuse for Cribbs’ camp to be acting like this. I hope that 1.4 was simply their initial offer, since that’s usually how negotiations work. The Browns need to pay him, but he (and his pathetic agent) need to give it a rest. Maybe they ought to consider that we’re trying to decide on a head coach and GM at the moment. And that GM’s are usually vital to player signings/negotiations. Maybe?
I hope they reach a happy medium soon. Remember, both Jamir Miller and Dennis Northcutt took their gripes out into the public and things got a little messy, but both sides eventually came together and forged new deals. However, if we look back at how Holmgren has previously handled similar situations in Seattle with Joey Galloway, we can see that Cribbs’ role on the team isn’t one that Holmgren holds in a high regard. It’s tough to gauge how valuable Holmgren will think Cribbs is, especially considering yesterday’s actions. They will seemingly improve the team enough to a point where he won’t be a wide receiver and won’t be a running back any longer. There won’t be a wildcat in Cleveland anymore. When you think like that, you could maybe understand where Holmgren might be coming from…because then you’re looking at 1.4M for a special team’s ace. Clearly there’s more to it, but with 3 years left on a contract that Cribbs himself signed, this is a delicate situation that will set a defining precedent for players in similar situations.
A few final notes, none of this should be taking place in the public eye. Period. Athletes using Twitter to try and advance situations like this is juvenile, and I’m sure that he’s now severely impacted however Holmgren might have viewed him. There’s no way that Holmgren will take kindly to this, nor should he. That being said, pay the man. I’m not saying pay the man his $3 million, I’m simply saying bump it to $2 million and throw a “final offer” at the end of it. If the “we demand a trade” card comes out then we will, hopefully by then, have the right people in place to make the best of the situation. This entire situation has dragged on long enough, and the Browns, Cribbs, and Cribbs’ representation have handled it terribly.
I will state that I DO NOT want to trade Cribbs at all. I want them to all relax and eventually come to an agreement. If the Browns actually had TALENT at some of the other positions, we wouldn’t be having the “He won games single-handedly for us!” and “He’s a legit RB option” and “He’s one of the best players in the league!!!” comments. The only reason Cribbs has been a jack-of-all-trades for the Browns is because of constant injuries and inept players all across the current roster. Cribbs is a valuable player, there’s no way to doubt that. However, with some more REAL talent on the team, we wouldn’t be falling all over ourselves to throw all this money at him to keep him around. Give him $2 Million with incentives and then use your 11 draft picks to build talent around what you already have.