AP Source: Browns exercising contract option on star Garrett

By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns will exercise the fifth-year contract options on star defensive end Myles Garrett and tight end David Njoku, a person familiar with the decisions told the Associated Press on Monday.

The decision on Garrett was not a surprise and will be official later in the day, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not publicly revealed its plans.

Garrett was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. He’s developed into the one of the NFL’s premiere pass rushers — he had 13.5 sacks in 2018 — and was on his way to another big season in 2019 before he was indefinitely suspended for striking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with a swung helmet in a Nov. 14 game.

Garrett missed Cleveland’s final six games. He was reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in February.

The future for Njoku, who was taken with the No. 29 pick in 2017, wasn’t as certain. He missed 10 games last season after breaking his wrist and his future seemed in jeopardy when the Browns signed free agent Austin Hooper and then drafted Harrison Bryant, the John Mackey Award winner, on Saturday.

But Browns general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski both said they feel Njoku can still be productive.

“We still have a ton of belief in David and he is very talented,” Berry said Saturday. “Obviously, he was not on the field much last year but he is a guy with outstanding physical tools, he has proven NFL production and we still think the future is very bright with him here.”

The Browns were approaching a deadline on the fifth-year options for Garrett and Njoku. First-round picks sign four-year contracts and the team has to decide whether to pick up the fifth-year option before the fourth season.


More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer