Cribbs says he's prepared to sit out

Cleveland Browns receiver and return man Josh Cribbs said last week that he thinks it’s over for him in Cleveland. And today Cribbs said that he’s prepared not to play at all if the Browns don’t trade him and don’t offer him a better contract.

Cribbs said on ESPN Radio that his camp was told the Browns’ latest contract offer was a take-it-or-leave-it deal. When asked whether he would play for the Browns if they don’t increase that offer, Cribbs was emphatic that he won’t.

“Oh, if that’s it? No,” Cribbs said.

When asked directly what he’ll do if the Browns don’t change their offer, Cribbs was blunt in his answer.

“I won’t play,” Cribbs said. “I won’t play.”

Of course, lots of players have said they won’t play under their current contracts, only to change their minds when they realize the team isn’t budging. But for now, Cribbs is unhappy enough with the Browns that he insists he’d rather not play at all than play for a team that he views as seriously undervaluing his services.

47 responses to “Cribbs says he's prepared to sit out

  1. Does the season start this Sunday for the Browns? Oh yeah, they don’t play a meaningful game for 8 months.
    Just pay the man so we don’t have to waste our time reading about this anymore.

  2. Why did you list him as a receiver? lets be honest here… hes a return guy… thats it. They can try to do what the bears did a few years ago with their return guy, but I think it would be even less successfull for the Browns.
    The Browns should make him the highest paid kick returner in the NFL, and he should be happy with that. Or, learn how to play another position…

  3. Whatever Cue the broken record. Cribbs said the same thing last year, and look what he did.
    He’s still under contract for THREE more years. Ok, Josh, go ahead and sit. By the time you’re a free agent, you’ll be 30 years old, bro.
    Oh, and Josh? Is it okay with you if the Browns hire a freakin GM first??

  4. No offense to Cribbs, but everyone is “prepared” to sit out this time of the year. Come training camp time, if he doesn’t get traded, he’ll show up to camp.
    Then he’ll probably have a “hamstring pull” or something.

  5. Cribbs said he wasn’t going to play this year and obviously he did. He’s under contract for three more years…
    He’s going about this the wrong way. Give Holmgren some time to get the front office and scouting department organized. Cribbs will eventually get his raise.

  6. Good sit on your ass and watch your bank account go steadily downwards. I’ve had more than enough of these greedy, scummy players and their agents who sign long deals and then only 1 or 2 years into them start crying about how underpaid they are.
    Would this greedy little a-hole have given money back to the Browns if he underperformed ? Of course not.
    FU Cribbs and your agent.

  7. Cribbs can be a starting running back in this league…this is crazy! I am a browns fan and I would rather see him on a good team then getting underpaid on this crappy team. On a side note, I like the new G.M. Signing!

  8. Cribbs has turned to the media because that’s all he’s got. He has no other leverage right now. He has three years left on his contract.
    The Browns will get to him. And until then Cribbs can make the rounds and spout off — ‘cos that’s all he’s got.
    I wonder what the Browns could get for him. He was a difference maker on the team last year. But how much better is this guy going to get?

  9. I can’t imagine the Browns didn’t drop everything last week to accomodate Cribbs and his agent.
    Its not like they hired a team President, made a decision on the fate of its head coach and interviewed potential GMs.
    I mean, the Browns will play another meaningful game in only 9 months from now. What are they thinking???

  10. Cribbs said he wasn’t going to play this year and obviously he did. He’s under contract for three more years…
    He’s going about this the wrong way. Give Holmgren some time to get the front office and scouting department organized. Cribbs will eventually get his raise.

  11. Deion Branch said he wouldn’t play and he stuck to it. He was traded shortly after the season started.

  12. I am so tired of these player who continue to show kids of today how not to be when they grow up. Cribbs was man enough to sign a contract and take the money before he knew how good he was really going to be. If he was another “bust” player who signs a contract and never lives up to his playing value would he be willing to give the team the money back? I thought the were more than generous to offer him more money for be little more than a “special team” player.
    Be a man and “JUST PLAY MAN”. Honor your contract and reap the rewards on your next one.

  13. If he underperforms… he is an underperforming whinner.
    He doesn’t have the media, and he also doesn’t have the history of success this kind of stunt would even merit.
    Medocrity doesn’t warrant a new deal. Play the game well, exceedingly well, and maybe a new deal comes your way.

  14. Cribbs value as a team member transcends special teams. He’s a leader on and off the field. I don’t agree with how he is going about this but the Browns should make an attempt at keeping him happy. Having said that, I would make sure he plays the next three years of the contract for the Browns or nobody. Some non-divisional team would have to make me an offer I couldn’t refuse if I were the GM.

  15. I’m not normally for the player in a holdout situation but this man has not only outplayed his contract, he was promised a new one. If the ownership of the Browns aren’t men of their word, Cribbs has some rationale for breaking his contract, too.

  16. Why don’t you minimum wage workers wake up and realize if you are doing the work of upper management, you would also want to be paid for it. This isn’t a case of a guy making 5 million a year wanting 8 million a year. This is a guy whose career will end in far below financial condition if he doesn’t act now.
    Remember, the NFL locks you into taking mid-term contracts–you really don’t get short-term deals out of the draft. I would have no sympathy if it was like the case of Scottie Pippen who was offered a short term deal after being the league for a while and asked for something long-term for his security. Then, after a couple years salary inflation leaped into the league and he started whining. No sympathy, when it is your fault, Scottie.
    Now if one of you ranters want to give me details on former and present negotiations, feel free, otherwise, go yell at a wall. We have all heard your one-dimensional views before. Better yet, go apply for Paul MacGuire’s job.

  17. the only levegage Cribbs does have is the fact that the entire city of Cleveland is on his side and wants to see him get paid. Doubt the new regime wants to start out with the city being against them. That being said though, no way is he getting ridiculously overpaid like Hester. Guys that bust out as great return men, Dante Hall, Devin Hester, seem to have a short shelf-life in that regard.
    he’ll get a face-saving contract just before camp, but they certainly won’t give him $40 million Hester-like money.

  18. Problem for Cribbs: If you sit out the whole year, it doesn’t count as a year served for your contract. So you still have 3 years left.
    His other alternative: I believe he gets credit for a year if he shows up at week 10. Problem with that, though, is that the daily fines for skipping training camp will be greater than the pro-rated portion of his contract. And he’d have to do it 3 years in a row.
    So he can’t get out of the contract without playing, and if he decides to do the bare minimum, then he’s 30 years old, broke, and hasn’t played a full year for 3 years by the end of his contract.
    Best bet is to make nice with the Browns. I don’t see Holmgren caving to a whiner in his first player negotiation. Prepare to be made into an example.

  19. I believe he has outplayed his contract, and his is a situation that warrants action by the team to correct that.
    However, Schaffer’s amateurish and unprofessional antics (including angry, condescending emails
    to fan bloggers who have been critical of him) and Cribbs’ Tila Tequila-inspired Twitter ravings have soured me.
    Holmgren was in his first day on the job when Cribbs/Schaffer started issuing deadlines and going public with their rants. Just days after the season closed, months before the trading/FA period opens, while the team is interviewing GM and Personnel Director candidates–ie, the people who would normally handle contract negotiations such as this–their behavior is very curious. Especially when both the team president and HC have said publicly that he’ll get a new contract.
    Cribbs has earned roughly $4,700,000 over three years since he signed his contract. He had universal fan support until he started talking about “being taken advantage of” and “being spit on” and feeling “betrayed by his best friend” and all the other hyperbole… Yeah, he deserves more. But today, in this economy, to be crying poor with nearly $5mil in the bank the past three years… not a wise strategy.
    At this point, I honestly, truly, hope that the Browns call his bluff. Sit out this year. And next year. And the year after that. And then let him walk as a free agent and see what the market bears for a 31 year old return specialist who hasn’t played the game in over three years.
    I’m sure Josh isn’t reading this, but if he were, I’d remind him of what we hear from players all the time, “it’s a business.” It’s not personal. Take your emotions out of it, keep it out of the press, keep your rants off of twitter. Share your feelings with your family, not the middle class working folks that you can no longer relate to. Let the team get the front office in order, they’ve said they would work with you, you’ve got some six weeks until trading/FA opens up. . The first offer is never the best nor the last, no matter what some non-GM lower level employee tells you.
    Oh, and while I’ve got your ear, hire an experienced, professional agent. This guy has already damaged your pristine public image, and he’s going to damage your earnings ability for a good portion of your remaining career if you continue down this road. Your last agent steered you wrong–do you want to be sitting there two years from now, hiring another new agent, with Rickert having steered you wrong?

  20. You guys who have never played football, kill me talking about athletes andf their contracts. Until your in their shoes, shut the hell up. He is the most productive player on the Browns and is grossly under paid. He has clearly outplayed his contract and deserves more money. If he were to get hurt, he would never see the fruits of his labor, so he wants to be paid for his recent performances. If put on offense their is no way he cant at least do what Brad Smith has done for the Jets. He is a playmaker with the ball in his hands point blank. As Deion would say “Pay the man”!!!! Get over yourselves people, professional athletes make lots of money, and the better they perform, the more money they deserve. Just as when normal people expect raises after a period of time of busting their hump. Difference being he puts his career on the line every game because of the physical nature of the sport. When you outplay your contract you earn the right to negotiate a new one. Owners dont have a proble terminating a contract when a player gets hurt. Its a dog eat dog world out there and Cribbs must look after himself because no one else will.

  21. I feel awful the Browns held a gun to his head and FORCED him to sign the deal.
    I remember that right after he signed the “bad” deal as he calls it now he was overjoyed he said with ” the security this new contract provides me and my family”
    I guess the security is no longer very secure.
    I don’t get the timing of his tour on ESPN shows to complain to anyone that will listen that he is underpaid and will sit out the season.
    This is frustrating many Cleveland Browns fans that have to listen to his demands and have him say he will sit out if his demands are not met.
    Unemployment in Cleveland is approaching 15% and many people are becoming sick & tired of hearing this on a day in and day out basis.
    The Brown’s have MANY needs besides overpaying for a guy that although he is exciting to watch touches the ball a few times a game.
    This is why fans turn on players they once liked because he has a contract and the more he bitches the more the tide will turn against him and will favor the Browns.

  22. Bigbluefan says:
    I have one thing to say
    Yes he out played his contract but if he under played his contract would he be giving money back?
    If he under played his contract he’d be cut and not see the final three years of it, unlike the other major sports leagues.
    I agree, when a player’s under contract, the team he’s signed with has every right not to renegotiate, but at the same time since these contracts are not guaranteed, it does make me a little less angry with NFL players wanting new deals then MLB, NBA, etc.

  23. Josh,
    Get a clue.
    A) you signed a contract, and while you’ve lived up to it, the Browns do not have to do anything. be happy they are actually offering more.
    B) instead of just stating what your base salary will be in the new contract offer, tell us the whole story – escalations and bonuses. 1.4 may be low, but add in the rest and the offer may be great
    C) its called negotiations. Browns go low, your agent goes high, you meet in the middle.
    D) believe it or not, you’re not the most important thing to the Browns organization right now. Your agent demanding a response by the organization on the new president’s 2nd day when he still needed to figure out the coaching situation, and still needs to figure out the GM situations lacks logic – in addition lacks common sense and respect
    E) Devin Hester got overpaid, the Browns aren’t going to make that same mistake
    F) read the CBA or have someone (other than your agent) that understands it tell you about the fine system. You’ll lose $14,000 per day (yes per day) you sit out once training camp has started. In less than 2 months, your salary for the year will be gone.

  24. The problem with people comparing Josh Cribbs to the likes of Devin Hester or Dante Hall is that Hester and Hall are *just* kick returners. I don’t see those guys also being used as WRs, RBs on any kind of regular basis like Cribbs and there’s no talk of them possibly even getting on defense at the safety position like there is with Cribbs.
    It’s funny how the Browns want Cribbs to do everything on the field, but want to pay him whatever the going rate is for whichever one of those positions cost them the least. Cheapskates.
    Say what you will about him whining for money. When “flash in the pan” Hester gets 5-million-plus per season- and ISN’T expected to be a running back and WR on a regular basis on top of kick return duties- and then the Browns offer Cribbs $1.4 million, it IS an insult. Especially when the Browns long snapper, Ryan Pontbriand, makes twice that much to be on the field for 10 seconds at a time only a few times a game.
    Understand? The LONG SNAPPER gets twice as much money as the guy who seems to be responsible for half the Browns’ scoring.
    What a joke. Pay the man already.

  25. The Browns are not negotiating in good faith.
    Everyone knows that NFL k’s are not guarnteed. If a player underpeforms his k, he is asked to restructure or cut w/o pay. When a player outperforms his k, he should be paid fair market value. This is the consequence of non-guaranteed k’s.
    Paying your best player his market value is a good thing. It keeps Cribbs here, and it sends a message to free agents that the organization is fair and honest.
    In the words of Norman Chad, “Pay the man, Shirley”.

  26. All you people are bitching, saying he should “be a man” and finish out his contract before demanding a new deal.
    You say things like, “You shouldn’t sign a long-term deal if you won’t hold true to the terms.”
    But none of you mention the fact that the TEAM has the authority to drop his ass from the squad on a whim. Why aren’t the teams held to the same virtues and standards when it comes to upholding a contract?
    The truth is, whoever has greater leverage in this negotiation will ultimately come away the winner. Cribb’s leverage is his skill and the Brown’s utter lack of talent. The team’s leverage is their bank account. We’ve got 9 or so months to watch this unfold.
    My assumption is that Cribb’s wins; he’ll get a better deal or he will get traded, either way a win for him.
    Mark my words, the loser Browns will find a way to screw themselves over yet again with this one.

  27. Yeah, I don’t think a take it or leave it deal exists in january, before you’ve hired a GM. Dawn Aponte, who said it was a take it or leave it offer, is about the 10th person on the totem pole to make offers. If Holmgren or Heckert say it’s a take it or leave it, then you know. Until then, just relax Josh. Damn. So you’re going to sit out, make no money, and be forgotten…then make a huge comeback when you’re 30? Can I please make $1.4 million to play football??? PLEASE??? I’ve been laid off from a $39,900 job for 8 months and can’t find anything comparable!

  28. trickbunny,
    Hester is listed as Chicago’s starting WR
    I agree he should be paid more, but his agent is only telling part of the story – base salary. If he told us all what escalators could bring the salary up to, as well as signing bonus, we’d know the whole story. I’ve read that escalators could take the contract up to 2 million per year average. If he gets a 6 million dollar signing bonus (for example), that’d take him up to 3 million per year average. We’re not hearing this from the agent, just the 1.4. We don’t know the whole story, simple as that.
    It seems Josh is interested in salary, so fine, offer him the same signing bonus and contract for years 1-2, and backload the rest. If he continues to perform, he gets paid the backload amount. If he doesn’t perform, he would be cut. Happens all the time…

  29. scrap the remaining 3 years give 10 million for 3 years guaranteed and i bet you he signs on the dotted line ,the thing is NFL contracts arent worth the paper there written on ,10 million for three you will get 3 good years out of him and he would sign it because its guaranteed.

  30. I do believe that Cribbs is the best return man in the league and should be paid as such, but I don’t understand why he is upset with the Browns. Shouldn’t he be upset with the agent that he fired for the contract he signed and still has 3 years left on? Why is it the Browns fault that he suddenly hates the contract that he agreed to prior? Place blame in the right direction, yourself and your agent.

  31. I’m a life long Browns season ticket holder. Old and new Browns. I love watching Josh Cribbs and think he’s a great player. However, I do not like how he’s played this situation. I would let him sit. With or without him 2010 is a project year for the Browns. Lets build the project without him.

  32. It’s simple. If he plays under his current contract until he’s 30, when he’ll be worn out, he’ll get pretty much chump change – nothing to live his remaining years on. So sit it out and keep your body wear-free to when you can sign a deal that gives you more financial security. As for the Browns? Cribbs was their best player this year and one of the reasons they won a few games. If they think that by cutting 3 mill a year they’ll be able to offset his production by getting someone else then do it. It doesn’t change Cribbs position. He has to do what he has to do.
    For his production everyone knows he’s being underpaid. He voiced the same concerns last year and the team said play it out and we’ll pay you. So he did. And they haven’t. What’s to discuss now? They’ve made their position clear. He has to sit.

  33. “But none of you mention the fact that the TEAM has the authority to drop his ass from the squad on a whim. Why aren’t the teams held to the same virtues and standards when it comes to upholding a contract?”
    The teams have to act within the terms of the CBA. Those rules are collectively bargained by the NFLPA, then voted on and agreed to by all the players in the NFL. If you have a problem with those rules, then your problem is with the NFLPA for negotiating those terms, or with the players for accepting them–the clubs are simply operating within the rules of the system in place.
    What’s missing is when folks like you mention the teams’ ability to cut a player, or talk about guaranteed contracts in MLB or the NBA, also ignore the fact that NFL players benefit from thos same rules in ways NBA and MLB players do not. NFL players, compared to athletes in other sports, receive the largest portion of their money up front in the form of signing (and other) bonuses that are not recoverable by the teams.
    Everyone wants to point to Cribbs’ salary this year (somewhere mid $600,000, I’ve seen it reported from $620k to $690k.) But you ignore that he received a $2,000,000 signing bonus. A signing bonus is an advance payment for future services: you receive a portion of future years’ salaries the day you sign. That money is his even if the team cuts him the day he signs. In other words, he received part of this year’s salary three years ago. And next year’s. And 2011’s and 2012’s. An upfront payment that every player keeps–money for games not played, in other words–even if the team does cut him.
    In Cribbs case, he has made roughly $4,695,000 over the first three years of his contract, based on the numbers reported by the NFLPA and repeated here on PFT.
    Yes, he’s outplayed the contract and deserves more.
    But crying poor when he’s pocketed nearly $5mil in three years? Assuming he’s smart and invested and didn’t blow it all, he’s already got enough to ensure a passive income to keep his family comfortably in the wealthiest 1% of Americans. If you buy this crying poor hyperbole, you are lacking either perspective or are being intellectually dishonest.

  34. Let him sit the rest of his contract out, hes going to lose out more than the organization. It will sent a message to greedy bastards that cannot honor a deal.

  35. I love the “you signed a contract” argument. Unfortunately, in the NFL, “contracts” don’t mean much. The money isn’t guaranteed, and a team can cut a player and pay him nothing. San Diego renegotiated LT’s contract after he underperformed last season. Had LT refused to renegotiation, the Bolts would have cut him.
    The Browns have gotten a lot of production out of Cribbs for several years while paying him very little (relatively speaking). The circumstances today are different than the circumstances when Cribbs entered into his contract. The Browns have a choice to make: they can pay him what he’s worth, they can trade him or they can keep him and have an unhappy player.
    I also love the “he makes $X per year so he has enough money.” Not how it works here. In a field where one can injure a knee tomorrow and never play again, I tend to give guys the benefit of the doubt when they have outperformed their contract. Stop being so myopic, people.

  36. When a young kid with a questionable record showed up undrafted he just wanted to play… Now he has an agent up his butt and the demands start flying…
    Josh can run kickoffs back… but he isn’t the best wildcat performer or wide out… he is too inconsistent…
    He will make good money with a restructured deal if he just relaxes a little and let’s the new front office get settled in….
    In other words… Shut Up Josh… go smoke a blunt and relax a little….

  37. Criibs’ almost sounded like Patrick Ewing when he said that Football is a violent sport and was scared when he almost broke his neck, and needs more money. He has a family and wants to secure a financial future for them and that is fine, but do not say that you are the type of man who never publically bitches about a contract (the 3rd time he has done this).
    And he say’s that he is playing the game for the people of the city who are the blue collar workers just like him at a 650,000 dollar contract (good analogy) After hearing him talk during these negotiations it proves my point that the best football players truly are the dumbest.

  38. So Josh Cribbs has the all time record for most return TD’s. Where has that gotten the Browns?
    To me, the solution is clear. The Browns must trade Cribbs now while his value has peaked. The Browns could easily get a couple of good draft picks that they could use to fill gaping manholes on both sides of the ball.
    The Browns have not won with Cribbs. Now is the time to use him to fill other holes.

  39. @ urbusted
    “Cribbs value as a team member transcends special teams. He’s a leader on and off the field.”
    The way Cribbs is currently handling this situation just goes to show how he’s not a leader, on or off the field.

  40. daPACK says:
    January 11, 2010 10:48 AM
    “Ted Thompson, trade our late first for this guy now.”
    Ohhh, I get it. You’re one of those TT haters, and you want him to pull off this trade so the Packers have a real reason to fire him… Nice one

  41. i bleed brown and orange. and i love the way josh cribbs plays the game. but this contract hooplah is just nonsense. the only time in my life i can remember a kick returner making a difference in a super bowl was desmond howard for the pack. thats it. the steelers had a pedestrian kick returner last year. the giants had a pedestrian kick returner the year before that, and so on and so forth. they are literally a dime a dozen. defense and quarterbacks win super bowls, not kick returners and wildcat RB’s. if our running game continues to improve the way it did down the stretch, we wont see cribbs on offense, plain and simple. the wildcat is just a gimmick for teams that cant just line up and run the ball. as for receiving, he’s had 5 years to prove hes a legit WR and hasnt. and trust me, it hasnt been the depth. if he cant snag the job from massaquoi and stuckey…it aint happenin. he can piss and moan all he wants, but holmgren knows football and he wont budge. sit out Josh, see if the fans still love you. or lets see if they forget who you are the instant our new KR that we draft in the seventh round, or undrafted like you, takes one house… leaning on the latter….

  42. Sign your name to a contract and then refuse to honor it – way to go, big man, nice positive role model there! In fact, why not take it all the way and just blame the Browns for forcing you sign that contract in the first place? I’ll bet that threat to not play lasts right up until opening week of next season, when Cribbs realizes that the ‘insulting’ $1.4 MILLION the Browns have just offered him is $1.397MIL more than he’ll make driving the laundry truck that delivers the team’s uniforms for the next three years if he doesn’t play.

  43. I agree that he deserves to be paid, but his timing has been horrible. Holmgren has been on the job for a week. Let’s see what his priorities were – determine if Mangini is your head coach; decide on the coaching staff; find a GM; in some order. Now that all of the above have been taken care of (and Heckert has been given final say on personnel decisions), the Cribbs’ situation can be addressed. Storming out of the locker room like a petulant child one day after Holmgren was hired is probably the worst thing he can do to prove to the new regime he is a team player.

  44. That’s fine if he wants to sit out but he should stop writing notes on the pizza boxes he delivers.
    The Browns.

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