The Cleveland Browns and Damarious Randall appear to be getting further apart almost by the day and it has everything to do with the rest of the market. Randall has said he'd love to stay with the Browns, but he sees what safeties are getting paid and naturally wants a lucrative contract of his own.
Kevin Byard's 5-year contract extension with the Tennessee Titans that is at least nominally worth $70.5M doesn't help. Byard is a better safety than Randall, but Byard's contract only serves to reinforce the idea that Randall can get a good amount of money on the open market. And Randall's latest statement suggests that is exactly where he wants to go.
It at least sounds like Randall wants to go out and get an offer from another team, see if the Browns will match and then go with the team willing to pay his price. That's certainly Randall's right and prerogative, but it makes it less likely that the Browns will be able to keep him if he delivers a great year.
Randall is a good, but not great safety and the NFL has all of a sudden experienced a spike in safety contracts, which is great timing for Randall. He's making $9M this year, which is a lucrative contract, but that number goes from 6th among safeties this year to falling out of the top 10 in 2020 when he's a free agent.
If Randall has a great year, the best hope for the Browns is that somehow the bottom falls out of the market and that most teams who were willing to pay for safeties have already found them, leaving the Browns to pay a lower contract value that can keep him. That's not likely.
In certain respects, Randall's honesty makes the situation easier for both sides. The Browns are aware that if Randall gets to the open market, he's gone and they'll have to address the position substantially to fill the vacancy he creates and improve the situation overall.
Randall having a great season for the Browns, helping them get to the playoffs this year would be enormous for his free agent value and everyone is going to be rooting for Randall to have a monster year, but should that happen, it only serves to guarantee that he'll be on a different team in 2020, not unlike Greg Robinson.
The cost of success for the Browns is they won't be able to keep everyone they want and these are the biggest decisions that John Dorsey will face in his tenure as general manager. The player he opts to keep has to deliver for him and he has to be be able to find ways to address the holes those guys would create in leaving.
The trade to acquire Randall was one of the biggest successes of Dorsey's tenure to this point. They were very motivated to keep him, but every day that passes only encourages Randall to get to the open market to secure his contract, so Dorsey is likely to have to work on finding his replacement.
Anyone know what Tre Boston is up to?