Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Gilbert agrees, sets up CB competition
By Pat McManamon
The Cleveland Browns will not have the last unsigned rookie in the league.
Cornerback Justin Gilbert, the eighth overall pick, agreed to terms Wednesday and should be on the field for practice when training camp opens to the public Saturday.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported the contract. Spotrac.com reported the deal is for four years and $12.8 million, with a $7.65 million signing bonus.
Gilbert's presence completes the cornerback group, a postion "where we upgraded the most," Browns coach Mike Pettine said.
Given the additions elsewhere, that's an interesting statement.
Joe Haden will be one starter. Gilbert and Buster Skrine will compete for the other spot.
Isaiah Trufant and Aaron Berry will be in the mix. Pettine sounded intrigued with both -- especially Berry, a veteran who had off-field issues but is trying to resurrect his career.
"You'll enjoy watching him in camp," Pettine said. "If you don't see him, you'll at least hear him. He's got a lot of swagger to him. He'll definitely energize practice for us."
Pettine simply smiled when asked about Trufant and said he's a "good player." His body language and expressions were so positive it seems possible Trufant could be the nickel corner. He is a pure slot cornerback though, so he would compete at that spot.
The Browns have stressed competition, and Pettine is a huge believer that players who push each other make each other better. That's why Pettine is so happy to have Gilbert, and have him signed. Not only does the scheme demand aggressive cover corners, it adds depth and competition.
Skrine and Gilbert will push each other, with Trufant pushing both, and Berry evidently forcing his way into the mix.