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Northcutt gets 3 year deal with Browns


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Browns re-sign WR Northcutt to 3-year, $9M deal

Posted: Saturday May 22, 2004 5:00PM; Updated: Saturday May 22, 2004 5:00PM

By Don Banks, SI.com

The Cleveland Browns re-signed Dennis Northcutt to a three-year contract agreement Saturday, nearly three months after the veteran wide receiver had his bid for free agency denied when his agent missed a deadline.

Northcutt's deal includes a $2.2 million signing bonus and is worth $9 million over the life the contract, according to an NFL source. However, Northcutt is due a $2 million roster bonus next spring, which could give the Browns the option of terminating the contract after just one season.

Northcutt and former San Francisco receiver Terrell Owens were at the center of separate controversies earlier this year when their agents failed to file the necessary paperwork to the NFL's management council, preventing both players from becoming unrestricted free agents. Owens' dispute was later settled when the 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles agreed to a league-brokered trade in April.

Northcutt, who signed a seven-year contract in 2000, had been required to notify the Browns by Feb. 19 if he planned to void the final three years of his deal. The Browns said Northcutt and his agent failed to inform the club by certified mail.

Northcutt led the club with 62 catches for 729 yards and two touchdowns last season.


By Len Pasquarelli


Putting behind them months of acrimony and contentiousness, the Cleveland Browns and Dennis Northcutt on Saturday evening opted to settle their considerable differences, with ESPN.com learning the team has signed the wide receiver to a new three-year contract.

The deal is believed to be worth about $9 million and essentially replaces the three years Northcutt had remaining on his original NFL contract. The new contract is for much less than a five-year extension proposal the Browns made during the 2003 season.

Northcutt, 26, was slated to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2003 campaign, as he accomplished enough predetermined performance levels to void the final three seasons of the seven-year, $5.8 million contract he signed in 2000.

However, his agent, Jerome Stanley, did not file the pertinent paperwork with the league in time to officially void the 2004-06 seasons, and, thus, Northcutt forfeited his chance at freedom.

Attempts to rectify the oversight by Stanley failed, and the NFL ruled that Northcutt was still under contract to the Browns, under his original terms, through 2006. That meant he would have had to play for base salaries of $618,896 (for 2004), $695,258 (2005) and $773,620 (2006), despite coming off a career year.

Northcutt also sought to be traded, but the only team that made the Browns a serious offer was Baltimore, and Cleveland declined to deal him to a division rival. A second-round pick in the 2000 draft, Northcutt has not been attending any of the sessions of the club's offseason conditioning program.

There have been recent reports, however, that the chill between Northcutt and the club was thawing and that he might consider returning to the team. Last month, the Browns offered a two-year contract, but they recently raised the ante.

A former University of Arizona standout, Northcutt was a disappointment during his first three seasons, then emerged as a viable playmaker in 2003, with 62 receptions for 729 yards and two touchdowns.

For his career, Northcutt has appeared in 55 games with 21 starts. He has 157 catches for 1,963 yards and seven touchdowns.

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I can see Taylor Jacobs being a Dennis Northcutt type player. Maybe floundering a bit during his first 2 yrs, but then emerging as a bit of a force in seasons three and four. Albert Connell followed a similar pattern, too. Sometimes it just takes a few seasons for a "speed" receiver to understand how to get open against DBs who are fast as they are.

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