Browns Get Badly Needed Win, Extend J.C. Tretter for Three Years
As first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Cleveland Browns have agreed to a contract extension with their center, J.C. Tretter, for three more years at $32.5 million with $23 million guaranteed. Tretter is in his third season with the Browns after starting his career with the Green Bay Packers. Playing through an injured ankle all of last season and still operating at a high level, Tretter is currently one of the best centers in the NFL.
Tretter joins Joel Bitonio as the team's two offensive linemen that are in the long-term plans for the Browns with the deals to match. Bitonio has been acknowledged for his play with postseason honors and Tretter may join him if he keeps playing at this level the rest of the year. The two will be counted on to help guide the development of what is likely to be a younger group of offensive linemen as the team tries to find more permanent answers at left tackle, right guard and right tackle.
Tretter earned the admiration and undying respect of the Browns locker room with what he played through last year, barely ever able to practice and in most of the games, effectively playing on one leg. It set a tone for the locker room that if he could do that, they had no excuse not to be able to push through aches and pains. Bitonio has gone as far as saying he doesn't know that he could do what Tretter was able to do last season.
Tretter has had bad luck with injuries throughout his career. With the Packers, he had two seasons cut short from teammates falling on him and it ultimately cosh him his starting job, which is why he was available to the Browns in free agency. That may have played a role in why he was willing to play through that much pain last year. Now, he's being richly rewarded for his efforts, giving Baker Mayfield badly needed stability at the center position and keeping a great representative of the franchise in the mix for the long haul.
The deal will take him up to age 32 at which point the Browns can theoretically work year to year with him if he's still playing at a high level and he wants to keep playing here. During the summer, Tretter said he wanted to remain with the Browns long-term, but hadn't heard anything about a contract offer and wouldn't elaborate any further on it.
There wasn't any indication this was coming and the Browns as well as general manager John Dorsey get a win in the form of good news during a difficult stretch of the season on the field and in news cycles. Tretter gets security for his future and peace of mind knowing where he will likely finish his NFL career. The Browns get an excellent center and direction for their future on the offensive side of the ball.