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Josh Cribbs contract saga: Everyone be patient and


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Josh Cribbs' Contract Saga: Everyone Be Patient and His Hypothetical Trade Value by Daniel Wolf


Daniel Wolf

Featured Columnist


Written on January 08, 2010


Gregory Shamus/Getty Images Cleveland Browns star returner Josh Cribbs has been patient for two straight years while proving his worth to the team with the hope that the Browns will extended his contract and give him more money for all of his efforts.


A Contract Offer Blown Out of Proportion, but Patience is Key


Finally, Browns new president Mike Holmgren said last week that he wants to keep Cribbs on the team and he gave the green light for the Browns to start negotiations with the playmaker.


But what happens next was unexpected by everyone, including Cribbs.


The Browns offer Cribbs an increase that would pay him $1.4 million per year, which is an increase of the $620,000 he made in 2009.


What is sad is that the offer should have been more like $4 million per year, but this is a negotiation. Despite Cribbs and his agent's overreaction (which is understandable), there is no reason they should have gone public with their complaints.


This could cause a problem in the whole "getting a new deal" process, but Browns fans and Cribbs need to settle down because this is only a first offer.


A second offer will most likely be made, but there are other priorities that Holmgren needs to focus on, like hiring a general manger, a scouting director, and a scouting team.


The scouting department is important to get into place immediately because the NFL Combine starts on Feburary 24, right around the corner.


Once Holmgren hires the rest of his front office staff, then he will have some time to spend with Cribbs and make another offer to the Pro Bowl returner.


What Trade Value Does a Team Put on a Pro Bowl Returner? (Hypothetical)


But what if the Browns want to trade Cribbs because his overreaction is seen as an issue in Holmgren's eyes?


What would the Browns value Cribbs at in drafts picks?


In this hypothetical situation, all you have to do is look at the Arizona Cardinals and their receiver Anquan Boldin during 2008.


Boldin, who is under contract until the end of the 2010 season, asked to be either compensated with a new contract that was more comparable to what fellow teammate and receiver Larry Fitzgerald received in 2008 (four years, $40 million, $30 million guaranteed), or get traded to another team.


Since Boldin was under contract, the Cardinals held all of the cards in the matter and decided to overvalue their receiver because they could.


They wanted two first-round picks in a trade for Boldin, hoping that another team would be desperate enough to take the deal, but no one jumped at the offer.


There were other teams offering first and second-round picks in the trade, but the Cardinals knew that Boldin was more of a value on their roster unless they could get two first-round picks for him.


The point here is that the Browns hold all of the cards with Cribbs under contract for three more years. If they wanted to put a price on him, it would be an overvalued price to see if there is a team desperate enough to take the deal and give up two first-round picks.


There may not be another team willing to take the deal, but one of the hottest commodities in the NFL right now is to have a star returner on the roster, especially a two-time Pro Bowl returner.


Is an asking price of two first round picks ridiculous? Of course it is, but even the Cardinals asked this price for their three-time Pro Bowler, so it doesn't seem too far off of an asking price for Cribbs who is a two-time Pro Bowler.


Will the Browns make another offer to keep Cribbs? Definitely.


Will the Browns overvalue their returner if a deal cannot be made? Definitely.


The worst that can happen in this scenario is that Cribbs will hold out and not play in 2010. But that not only hurts his value with other teams, it also will be very difficult for a competitor like Cribbs to just not play the game he loves.


Holmgren is a very smart man and he will do what's best for the team.


(Article also posted on Dawg Scooper)



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I think that this is all posturing. Everyone is supposed to act insulted in the beginning until they're all smiles later on. I don't know about the Dawn Aponte ultimatum but with new front office people announced as early as Monday, Cribbs' agent would be wise to wait. His reaction to an initial offer in the press makes me think the agent is a nitwit but hey, what do I know? I think that Mangini has some degree of rapport with him so I would venture a guess that whatever distaste there is in Josh's mouth can be overcome. If he can mend fences with Big Baby,....he can do the same with Cribbs.


Ultimately, we get into a rare but hotly debated topic: the financial value of a kick returner.


My cousin is a big Bears fan and they went through this with Devin Hester (who, in my eyes, is not as good as Cribbs).


My feeling is that Pro Bowl kick returners are like All-Star closers in baseball. You don't miss them until they're not there. You always wonder where the hell they found this guy. In the end, however, the market for their payscale is ridiculous. As much as I love Cribbs, I can't help but feel that kick returners can fade quickly and you'll still be on the hook for serious cash. Cribbs is grossly underpaid but I think he and his agent need to understand that they have very little leverage here. It's quite generous of the Browns to pay the man with 3 years left on a contract.


The trade value for Cribbs would be great and as good as he is, I don't see how you could pass up a group of high picks and/or top flight talent. It's a tough decision.


When I sit and reflect on Josh Cribbs, I can't help but want to keep him at whatever cost given the fact that he's young and he's an All-Pro talent. He's also good in the community and in the locker room.

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I don't know about the Dawn Aponte ultimatum but with new front office people announced as early as Monday, Cribbs' agent would be wise to wait...

well Earl that's a big piece of the pie. Cribbs' agents were in contact w/ Holmgren before he came to town when he was still in Arizona. they gave a deadline and got miffed a single call wasn't returned-like they were the only thing going on in Berea. they pushed harder for an answer and VP of Personnel Dawn Aponte said, roughly" it'll be 1.4 M today, 1.4 M in March, and 1.4 M in August, and Holmgren agrees".


that's an executive decision no matter whether she's keeping her job or not, and with Holmgren's name attached to it.


that's a lot different than "we have a lot going on right now guys, i need a little more time. once i hire my GM i'll be glad to address this fairly".


again, sounds like Cribbs camp gave the ultimatum, the deadline, and then panicked and went public when their bluff was called.


although i love Josh Cribbs' contributions as a person and as a player, in the end i have to put the blame with Josh. not only did he sign the 1st contract, but he also hired both his current douchebag agents. he coulda got a 1.4 M offer by himself, just by rolling 2009 Browns tape. instead, after they take their cut he probably stands to make less than he did before the rework. it's really kinda sad.

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Red Dawn (Aponte)


Red Dawn (Aponte) red-dawn-1984-207x300.jpg


Its all Josh Cribbs all the time today!! This will be brief. We've gone on and on here at WFNY about it. You have done so on sports talk radio, and in conversations with your friends and co-workers about it. Its the most obvious thing in Cleveland Browns Football these days – pay Josh Cribbs what he is worth.


We all thought that Eric Mangini's promise to Cribbs to get him a new contract by the end of the season was just a formality. When Mike Holmgren took over, he all but said that Cribbs will be taken care of. Then the firestorm hit last night and Cribbs and his agents went public. Who could blame them? The supposed $1.4 million offer is a slap in the face. Not to mention, this is now the third regime that was supposed to take care of him and hasn't.


Cribbs and his agents had enough. They for the most part, kept quiet all year. Cribbs certainly played hard and well (I mean, he is the greatest Special Teams Player since Steve Tasker and perhaps the greatest return man of all time), and waited for his day. The day came, and they offered him HALF the money that Roscoe Parrish and Andre Davis make.


Worst of all, Cribbs, his agents, and Browns fans have to read this unbelievably moronic quote from Browns rep Dawn Aponte on the contract offer – "It'll be the same offer tomorrow, the same offer in March, and the same offer in September."


Was that quote real? Did that really come out of Berea? Think that will go over well with Cribbs? Well what about the Browns fans, who LOVE Cribbs like no other player on the roster? If Holmgren is so busy with finding a GM and figuring out what to do with Eric Mangini, why not say to Josh and his agents "we have to get through the GM/Mangini situation first, then we will take care of you."


Instead, they seemingly rush through a low-ball offer to Cribbs (I say rush because Holmgren has only been on the job for a week) in the middle of all of this mess; Cribbs is insulted and goes public, and the fans are angry.


Welcome to Cleveland, Mike!


If Dawn Aponte indeed was not quoted out of context and said what she said, I would fire her today. She is probably on her way out anyways, considering Holmgren will be bringing in his own people. But to make a comment that ill-advised, and ill-timed STUNS me.

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here's an old article that highlights her in the trade of Sanchez to the Jets, for those of you not familiar w/ her. with her impressive credentials, i could see her both staying and her quote of "1.4 M" having serious legs.


Staten Island native Dawn Aponte sent Mark Sanchez to the Jets


By Daniel O'Leary

May 02, 2009, 9:48AM

APHey Jets fans, like the way Mark Sanchez looks in a New York Jets uni? You have West Brighton native and Cleveland Browns salary cap specialist Dawn Aponte to thank.

OK, all you long-suffering Jets fans.


You 300-section types, who think gold was struck with last weekend's drafting of USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.


You have one person to thank for your good fortune:


And it's not Rex Ryan.


Instead, give a nod to former Notre Dame Academy second baseman Dawn Aponte from down the block.


That's right.


Forget about all the red-meat types who were stuffed into the room at Cleveland Browns Central on draft day. They couldn't have accomplished a thing had it not been for the only woman in their midst, West Brighton native Aponte.


On draft day, the former Dawn DeFortuna -- mother of four and long-time executive with the Jets, and in the NFL league office -- had just taken a new gig as vice president of football administration with the Browns.


She had barely unpacked a bag in Cleveland.


The kids were still back on the Upper East Side being trundled back and forth to school and off to play-dates by husband Kevin.


But Aponte was settled in enough to be part of the decision-making process when it came to dealing the No. 5 pick in the draft to the Jets in return for safety Abram Elam, defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman and backup quarterback Brett Ratliff.


And it was Aponte who unearthed an obscure clause in Article XIX, section 3, paragraph H of the Veteran Free Agent section of the collective bargaining agreement that indicated that Elam -- for lawyerly reasons we are unequipped to explain -- would need to sign off on a deal before it was done.


It was Aponte who notified new head coach Eric Mangini, whom she worked with in the Jets organization; and new general manager George Kokinis, who was a NFL front-office co-worker.


It was also Aponte who, ever so quietly so as to not to tip off other teams, reached out to the people involved on the Jets' end.


And it was Aponte who dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's, hustling off the necessary paperwork to the NFL home office, where, ironically, she worked reviewing just such deals weeks earlier.


"Capwoman," Sports Illustrated's Peter King called Aponte after the complicated deal was done, completely shocking non-participants.

Advance file photoDawn Aponte


Because of the trade, Mangini now has three veteran pros he has coached before to go along with last weekend's draft choices, beginning with No. 21 overall pick Alex Mack, a center from Cal.


In return, he gave up the rights to Sanchez.


The Browns are happy.


The Jets are happy.


And Aponte?


She's just trying to clear her desk enough to get back to New York to see the kids.


"With the draft, we've just been so busy" she said yesterday. "I'm hoping to get home next weekend."


Which raises the question, what would entice a successful NFL veteran to leave a vice president gig in the league office to take on a job in Cleveland, where the franchise has made one playoff appearance in the past 15 seasons?


For Aponte, the answer is simple:


The challenge.


"When I sat down and thought about a combination of things, it really wasn't a tough decision," she said. "In fact, I considered it kind of unique."


How so?


"There was the broadening of responsibilities, and the opportunity to get more involved on the football side of things," Aponte said. "Then there was the fact that I knew the people who are involved in Cleveland. And in any decision like this, the woman issue is a factor. In the end I had to ask myself, 'How many opportunities like this am I going to get?'"


Aponte's football journey goes something like this:


Close to 20 years ago she became a summer intern in the New York Jets front office, schlepping and hustling and commuting out to Hofstra University while her friends were headed to the Jersey Shore for sun and fun.


The internship became a pitifully-paid junior bookkeeping job in the organization. Which, following hundreds of late nights and weekends, turned into a gig as a senior team accountant dealing with salaries and such.


During down time, she'd head out to the practice field and pick the brains of the coaches and scouts.


All that grit and smarts and curiosity catapulted Aponte into a Jets' vice presidency as the organization's salary cap and labor relations specialist.


She OK'd deals and negotiated contracts.


Along the way she got a crash course in dealing with difficult personalities by working with the likes of Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick.


Aponte left the Jets a couple of years back to join commissioner Roger Goodell as an NFL front-office attorney, specializing in collective bargaining matters.


By then she had a league-wide reputation as one of the few people in the business who truly understood the stupefyingly confusing maze of the NFL salary cap.


Now she's an NFL veteran who is in the room and in the loop when the football decisions are being made.


And if this Sanchez thing works out for the Jets, all you fans will have Dawn Aponte to thank.




here's another:


Cleveland Browns GM Search: It's "Capwoman" to the Rescue from the b/r-bleacher report

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WTF are they doing??? Has he played his heart out for nothing..Only to be insulted at the negotiating table with a ridiculous offer and an even more ridiculous statement like that??? Did nobody in the front office watch this guy play the whole year. he was one of a few bright spots on our squad and they come up with that garbage!!! WOW!!!

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Chill out.


Dawn Aponte, from what I've read, is a tight-lipped, frigid bitch. However, doesn't it make sense to put someone like that in charge of our money? I don't give a shit how hard Cribbs played. I mean, yeah, on a human level, I feel bad for him and want him to get paid (which he probably will before next season starts). But with a frigid bitch like her in charge of the money, it looks like we're not going to put up with any nonsense. This looks to me like she stepped up to the plate when Cribbs' agent started to play hard ball by publicizing the negotiations. I just feel like with her in place, we won't get ridiculous contracts going to people like Stallworth.

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