The Browns have wasted no time in locking up one of their splashy offseason acquisitions to a long term deal.
Jarvis Landry, who arrived in a trade with the Dolphins, is set to sign a monster five-year $75 million extension with the team, per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. The deal includes $47 million in guaranteed money and makes the three-time Pro Bowler the fifth highest paid receiver in the league.
Landry was previously set to play out the 2018 season under the franchise tag, which would've netted him $15.92 million for the year. He'll earn slightly less per campaign under his new deal ($15.1 million), but the long term security is what he was seeking.
The former LSU standout is a surprisingly polarising figure in the league, despite his record breaking production over his first four seasons as a pro. Landry's 400 catches are the most in NFL history through the first four years of a career, he led the league in receptions in 2017, and he's posted the top three seasons in terms of catches in Dolphins franchise history.
However, his value is questionable given his propensity to operate out of the slot and his lowly yards-per-catch numbers. Though he led the league in receptions last season with 112, Landry failed to exceed 1000 receiving yards and posted just 8.8 yards per catch which ranks outside the top 100.
The 25-year-old did haul in 69.57% of his targets, a better mark than Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and AJ Green, though again his critics put that down to his routes often being short or intermediate in length.
GM John Dorsey is taking a huge gamble giving Landry such a big payout, especially with a flurry of young stars on his roster that will need to be paid in the coming years. In the receiving corps alone, the talented duo Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman could well exceed Landry's production in 2018 and make his huge new deal look rather foolish down the line.
The defense is loaded with promising former first and second round picks who'll also be due pay rises in the coming seasons. And, though the Browns currently have the most cap space in the league (around $70 million), their abundance of high draft picks this year will take a chunk out of that figure.
They didn't create all that space by paying out huge contracts to players who aren't the number one option at their position. Even though Gordon has been out the league for some time now, his mere presence commands more attention from opposition coaches and players than a glorified slot receiver earning WR1 money.
Landry's numbers tell a story of an elite player, but the tape tells one otherwise. He's clearly one of the best slot operators in football, but realistically he's not a difference maker that can haul in catches with defenders draped all over him.
Only Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins are due more cash in 2018 amongst receivers.
Tyrod Taylor's limited downfield throwing abilitiy will actually suit Landry's skillset though, and he'll probably get more targets than he should next season. Once again, the Browns are making odd decisions despite their change in front office leadership and one can only hope they've factored in their cap numbers for the foreseeable future before pulling the trigger on this monster deal.
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