One of the bright spots of the Browns roster is running back Isaiah Crowell.
Last season despite the 1-15 record and struggling offensive line, the third year back made the most of his playing time, rushing for a career high 952 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
He also caught a career high 40 passes for 319 yards.
Crowell should’ve easily been over 1,000 yards but with the team getting into a hole early in games, head coach Hue Jackson would elect to throw more to try and get back into the game. It showed with Crowell having five games of under 10 carries.
Now with a revamped offensive line and it being a contract year, many are expecting “The Crow” to fly in this offense in 2017.
Additions like JC Tretter and Kevin Zeitler will make the offensive line stronger but Tretter as well as guard Joel Bitonio need to stay healthy in order to help the offense and especially Crowell flourish.
Crowell is on a one year deal worth $2.7 million after the team applied a second round tender on him during the offseason. That’s already a salary increase from last season which he made $600,000 on the final year of his rookie contract.
He’s currently talking about an extension to stay in Cleveland long term and who can blame him. Crowell told reporters there’s been “heavy communication” between the Browns and his agents.
The Browns gave him a chance as an undrafted rookie in 2014 and he’s played a huge role on offense during his three year career despite splitting carries with other running backs like Terrance West and Duke Johnson but he’s emerged over both as a running back.
Hue Jackson has touted Crowell since the day he walked into the organization. He’s always believed that Crowell could be a 1,500 yard running back in this league and still thinks he can get that as he shouted it out to him in practice
I don’t expect an extension to get done during the season as I think the organization and Crowell both want each other to prove that he can be a top level back in this league.
The position in today’s NFL is seeing constant turnover and you don’t see the elite running backs making the big time contracts like they did just a few years ago. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is the only one who makes over $10 million and that’s only because he’s on the franchise tag for this season.
The top ten running backs make at least $5.1 million or higher. If Crowell wants to cash in, he’ll have to have to break at least 1,000 yards and may need to get to 1,200 yards or more.
One negative in the negotiations is Crowell’s representatives: the Rosenhaus brothers.
Browns fans know all to well about how they handle contract talks with the whole Terrelle Pryor saga during the offseason. Rumors were that Rosenhaus tried to get Pryor top five wide receiver money from Cleveland which they did not get and ended in Pryor leaving for the Washington Redskins.
Along with Pryor, Rosenhaus represents cornerback Joe Haden and wide receiver Ricardo Louis. He’s also represented Josh Gordon and former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel in the past.
Hopefully the Rosenhaus brothers don’t try to overvalue him to the point where the Browns have to let him walk but we are a long way from that poin
I think Crowell is a very talented back and if things go perfectly, he’ll be the Browns offensive MVP in 2017 and signs long term here because I think he has the talent to be an elite back in the NFL.