Defensive end Myles Garrett has signed a five-year contract extension with the Cleveland Browns that will keep him at the franchise through the 2026 season at least. The deal is reportedly worth $25 million annually, the most ever for a defensive player in the National Football League.
“In 2017, the Cleveland Browns bet on me,” Garrett said following the extension, which was first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “This city quickly became my home and these people quickly became my family. I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity, the support of my friends and family, the organization, my teammates, the fans—I could go on forever, but even that wouldn’t be enough time to express my gratitude. I’ll just say this: Keep betting on me, Cleveland, because I won’t let you down. Now, let’s get to work.”
The $125 million extension also reportedly contains $100 million in guarantees, again the most ever for a defensive player in the NFL. After being selected with the first overall pick in the 2017 draft, Garrett has consistently impressed in his time in Cleveland and with 30.5, has the most sacks through their first three seasons in franchise history.
“One of our fundamental organizational beliefs is identifying young players on our roster and proactively retaining them as part of our present and future core. We go through great lengths to select players whose make-up and performance embody the characteristics we are looking for within our team. Today, we’re delighted that Myles Garrett will be a Cleveland Brown for many years to come,” said Andrew Berry, the Browns’ EVP of Football Operations and General Manager in a statement.
“Myles’ rare physical gifts in conjunction with his work ethic, intellect and humility have been the catalysts behind an auspicious start to his young career. Despite his early individual successes, Myles maintains the same drive toward greatness that he displayed as a 22-year old rookie. We firmly believe that this intense focus means the best is yet to come.”
Arlington, Texas native Garrett became Texas A&M’s only No.1 overall pick of the last thirty years when the 1-15 Browns selected him in 2017. Despite missing the first four seasons of the campaign with a high ankle sprain, Garrett hit the ground running in a struggling Browns team with two sacks in his first game and then five more over the remainder of the season.
After impressing both on and off the field of play during his first campaign, Garrett was named a team captain prior to the 2018 season and saw his performances rise a level higher. The defensive end rose above the mediocrity surrounding him in the locker room to record 13.5 sacks, just shy of Reggie Camp’s 1984 single-season record of 14. Garrett also made 44 tackles, three forced fumbles and a blocked kick over 16 games to earn himself second-team All-Pro honors and his first spot in the Pro Bowl.
The 2019 season continued in similar fashion for Garrett as the 24-year-old made 10 sacks through the first 10 games of the season. However, the star’s season was ended prematurely following a suspension after a shocking off the ball incident.
“I think it’s really important for us as an organization to cement Myles’ status here for a really long time,” Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski said. “He was drafted No. 1 overall, and you’ve seen over the years what an extremely bright future this young player has. I think it was a prudent decision on Andrew’s part and Myles’ part to keep Myles here for many productive seasons. Myles’ skillset, I think, is still scratching the surface. He’s young, and I can’t wait to get our hands on him and put him in this scheme and let him loose.
“He’s as disruptive as they come. He’s big, long, fast, quick and has a motor. He checks all the boxes. I think he fits so perfectly into what we want to be schematically in terms of getting off the football and being in attack mode for 60 minutes.”
Garrett missed the Browns’ final six games of the 2019 season after receiving an indefinite ban from the NFL for hitting Mason Rudolph with his own helmet during a matchup with the Steelers. In a bizarre display of violence, Garrett ripped Rudolph’s helmet off while attempting to bring him to the floor and then swung it at the quarterback’s head. A brawl ensued that also saw Maurkice Pouncey ejected from the game. After the Super Bowl, the NFL announced that Garrett would be eligible to play from the start of the 2020 season.
“It would be remiss of me not to address the fact that we are choosing to do this after a season during which Myles was suspended,” Andrew Berry said. “Myles has been accountable for his mistake and we view the incident as well out of character. We don’t believe one moment should define him based on how he has handled himself prior to and in the months after last year’s incident. We are excited to ensure that Myles will stay in Cleveland for the foreseeable future.”