Fourth year an issue for Browns, Phil Taylor

August, 1, 2011
8/01/11
2:59
PM ET
A lot of Cleveland Browns fans are asking me what the holdup is with Browns rookie defensive tackle Phil Taylor? The first-round pick is the only AFC North rookie who remains unsigned and isn't in training camp.

From what I'm hearing behind the scenes, the biggest issue is the fourth-year guarantee. Signed picks from No. 1-20 received guaranteed money in the first four years of their contracts. But Taylor is the No. 21 overall pick, and I'm told the Browns right now are only offering the first three years guaranteed.

The interesting part is pick No. 25 -- James Carpenter of the Seattle Seahawks -- did accept three years of guaranteed money. So that's currently the bar in the first round. If Taylor settles for the same at No. 21, that would set a new standard following the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement.

Things can change rapidly in contract negotiations. So it's unknown if Taylor will accept the current offer, or the Browns will eventually guarantee the fourth year. But as of Monday afternoon, that is where things stand.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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