Myles Garrett has played through three seasons in his NFL career after being selected with the first-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He made the Pro Bowl and the second-team All-Pro team in 2018. He was well on his way to doing that and more last season before he earned a suspension that cost him the final six games of the year.
No matter which way you try to slice it, Garrett has been very good and will continue to get better. He is one of the best young edge defenders in the game, and the Browns recently rewarded him earlier this month with a new five-year contract extension, which totals $25 million per season in new money–$125 million overall.
The contract included $100 million in total guarantees, including a $50 million signing bonus. In other words, he is a rich man at the age of 24. But he is being paid for the future, for what’s to come, and not what he’s already done. In fact, the organization’s expectations for him, both on and off the field, are higher than ever before.
And he knows. As he told reporters after the deal was consummated, it’s “time to prove it”. in other words, to prove that he was worth a contract that made him the highest-paid defensive player in the history of the game. “I have to assert myself as top dog”, he said. “I feel like I’m confident and ready to do that”.
His teammates and coaches have spoken positively about him this offseason toward that end, noting that he has been increasingly taking leadership responsibilities upon himself during meetings—even if they are being conducted over Zoom.
“They had faith in me, and now I’ve got to give them a reason to have that faith”, he added. “I’m going to do my best to make it worth it to them”. He added that he was in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 at the time of his suspension. “I don’t want to make it a conversation anymore”.
Not only does he want to win it decisively, he also set the goal of taking the Browns to the postseason, for the first time in over a decade. “I want to lead Cleveland to the promised land”. The Browns finished the 2019 season 6-10. They were 4-6 prior to the start of Garrett’s suspension, going 2-4 without him, their only wins coming over the Bengals and the Dolphins, who were among the worst teams in the NFL last season.