Cleveland used to be a place players would only want to come to for money, unless they happened to have been from the area. There was a brief period of time when it seemed as though that was changing, but has it? After all, look at what the Browns had to do just to get Deshaun Watson to choose them over other suitors.
Quite a large number of their most high-profile players came and went, granted, for a variety of reasons. And every team in the league has players who would rather be somewhere else or who don’t have great experiences.
So what does one make of the situation of the Browns’ latest first-round pick, cornerback Greg Newsome II? There were reports that he wanted to be traded, which he recently denied. But a source told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that that isn’t true—indeed, it’s the reason he fired his agent.
And he hired Drew Rosenhaus, who has become pretty good over the years at orchestrating player-desired trades, through whatever means necessarily, ideally behind the scenes. Of course, that’s not the tack he was forced to take on behalf of Antonio Brown to extricate him from Pittsburgh.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Newsome does want to be traded: why exactly would that be? What would he be unhappy with? He’s started all but one game for which he has been on the field since coming into the league two years ago. He played 907 snaps last year, 95 percent of the defensive snaps for the team in the 15 games in which he played.
It can’t be financial interests, at least not logically. Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, players are not eligible for a second contract until after their third season, and Newsome is set to play his third season later this year, so there’s nothing he can do for himself economically for now.
But perhaps he believes that the Browns are not his best bet for a lucrative long-term extension, and that he would be in a better position for next year by playing for another team more likely to give him what he wants, when he wants it.
But has Newsome done anything in his first two seasons that would entice a team to get him under contract on a long-term extension after three years when they would still be able to control his rights for another two? Very few players who are not quarterbacks get extensions in those situations. The first one off the top of my head is Myles Garrett. I’m sure there are others but I’m not coming up with any.
Or maybe he just doesn’t like it there. Jadeveon Clowney, who also joined the Browns in 2021, was pretty clear about his desire to cut ties, though he had complaints—largely unjustified—with how he was being used defensively.