The Browns aren’t negotiating with any of the their five restricted free agents that plan to skip OTAs starting Monday.
That indicates the players aren’t especially likely to get a long-term contract soon. But it is possible they could get their 2010 salary reduced if they stay away from the team too long.
Browns G.M. Tom Heckert admits the team has discussed reducing tender offers if the players don’t show up by June 15. They would rather not, though.
“Nobody wants to go down that road because it brings bad blood,” Heckert said. “At the same time, we want the guys in here. . . . We want guys in and then we’ll see what happens. We hope it doesn’t get to June 15.”
We doubt the Browns will reduce the offers to safety Abe Elam, running back Jerome Harrison, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, linebacker Matt Roth and fullback Lawrence Vickers.
Still, Heckert appears to be sending a message. Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer details how much each player could lose in the process; most could lose over $1 million.
For that reason, we expect a rash of RFA signings around June 15th in Cleveland and around the rest of the league.