“After receiving numerous requests from local and national media outlets, fans, and several others connected to the Cleveland community, we felt it necessary to provide a statement with respect to T.J.’s current contract situation. Detailed contract discussions with multiple front office executives of the Browns began last month at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Since then several conversations have occurred in an attempt to secure a new deal for T.J., but we’ve yet to agree on terms that work for both sides.
“T.J. has proven himself to be not only an elite NFL safety, but an elite and top NFL player league wide which is evidenced by him earning both All Pro and Pro Bowl recognition this past season. With the passing of the franchise/transition tag deadline, we remain open to further discussions with the Browns in working towards a long-term deal and look forward to that possibility. However, if things don’t work out in Cleveland, we likewise look forward to the opportunity that can coincide with becoming an unrestricted free agent. Several factors will be considered before making a final decision that will provide best for T.J. and his family.”
What does this mean for Browns fans who want to see TJ back next year? It’s probably not a good sign.
If a contract negotiation is going well, or ongoing even, generally both sides stay out of the media. When it turns bad or stops entirely, sometimes one side (usually the player ‘s) will go to the media to try and pressure a team.
In this one, it’s pretty clear that’s what’s happening. TJ is a fan favorite, and going to the media and releasing a statement that basically says “they won’t give TJ the money” puts fan pressure on the team to do just that, especially a young front office like this one. I think Farmer isn’t the type of guy to give in, but it still is what it is. I take this as a likely sign that negotiations have entirely broken down and are unlikely to resume any time soon.