CLEVELAND (AP) — Jedrick Wills Jr. is getting more time to prove to the Cleveland Browns that he’s worth a long-term investment.
The team has picked up the fifth-year contract option for Wills, the No. 10 overall pick in 2020 out of Alabama.
He has started 45 games for the Browns, but the 6-foot-4, 310-pounder has been plagued by inconsistency in his first three seasons.
While the move was expected, it wasn’t guaranteed.
General manager Andrew Berry declined to discuss Wills’ future on Saturday during the NFL Draft, leading to speculation the Browns may have had other plans.
The team had until Tuesday to pick up the option, which will be worth $14.1 million.
He is under contract for two more seasons, and the Browns can work out a longer deal with him if they feel Willis is worth keeping.
The Browns have one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, led by coach Bill Callahan.
Wills played right tackle in college before switching to the left side, which didn’t become a pressing need for the Browns until 2018, when 10-time Pro Bowler Joe Thomas retired.
Thomas is being enshrined in the Hall of Fame this summer.
Wills hasn’t played poorly; it’s more that he hasn’t been dominant.
However, the team felt he made major progress in 2022 that he can build upon.
Browns sign McLeod
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns added needed experience and depth to their secondary on Thursday, agreeing on a one-year contract with veteran free agent safety Rodney McLeod.
The 32-year-old McLeod has started 138 games in his NFL career.
He spent last season with Indianapolis, finishing with 96 tackles, eight pass breakups and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.
Terms of McLeod’s deal were not immediately known.
With Cleveland, McLeod will be reunited with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who was hired in the offseason to fix a unit that woefully underperformed last season.
McLeod and Schwartz won a Super Bowl together with Philadelphia in the 2017 season.
McLeod played six seasons with the Eagles after breaking in and spending four seasons with the Rams.
McLeod’s familiarity with Schwartz and his system will be a major asset to the Browns.
He’ll also fit in nicely with expected starters Grant Delpit and Juan Thornhill, who signed as a free agent after winning the Super Bowl with Kansas City.
McLeod has played both strong and free safety.