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Thread: Zeitler to the Browns

  1. #1

    Zeitler to the Browns

    Former Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler signing with Browns

    Kevin Zeitler was one of the top offensive lineman to hit the open market, so it is no surprise seeing him find a new home rather quickly.
    by Jason Marcum@marcum89 Mar 9, 2017, 2:45pm EST

    As expected, Kevin Zeitler is leaving the Cincinnati Bengals to sign a big contract with a new team.

    Adam Schefter‏Verified account @AdamSchefter 2h2 hours ago

    Cleveland plans to give Kevin Zeitler a five-year, $60 million deal that includes $31.5 million guaranteed, per source.
    64 replies 911 retweets 1,108 likes
    Adam Schefter‏Verified account @AdamSchefter 2h2 hours ago

    Former Bengals G Kevin Zeitler expects to sign with Cleveland, per sources. Big day for Browns O line. Highest paid guard in NFL history.

    According to Adam Schefter, Zeitler will sign with the Bengals’ division and in-state rival, the Cleveland Browns.

    As Schefter alluded to, Zeitler is expected to become the richest lineman in the NFL with this new deal. He entered free agency clearly among not only the top offensive linemen, but overall top free agents after being a borderline Pro Bowl guard for much of his career.

    Having just turned 27 on March 8, there’s no reason to think he won’t continue at his current level of play for many more years to come. It just won’t come in Cincinnati.

    This past season, Zeitler had a great season worthy of Pro Bowl consideration, though he didn't earn that honor. He finished 2016 as Pro Football Focus' seventh-ranked guard while starting in every game at right guard. He's only missed eight games through his first five seasons out of a possible 84 games (including the playoffs).

    Zeitler came to Cincinnati via the 27th-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin. He became a Day 1 starter and has never looked back, though he’ll now do so with a new team. The Bengals wanted to keep Zeitler, but knew the contract he would score this year would outweigh what they were willing to pay for a guard.

    That’s not to say Zeitler didn’t earn this deal, which he did. It’s just not a position where the Bengals want to commit a ton of money when they already have left guard Clint Boling locked up for three more years at over $5 million annually. Not many teams are willing to commit $15 million plus per year to their guards. Only four teams reached that number in 2016. The Browns will now surely surpass that number after extending guard Joel Bitonio with a 6-year, $51.2 million deal this morning.

    This is still a huge loss for the Bengals, as Zeitler was easily the best lineman on this team in the short and long term. Andrew Whitworth, who left to sign with the Rams, may be the better lineman right now, but at age 36, he only has a great year or two left in the tank, whereas Zeitler will be playing at a high level for many years to come.

    But the Bengals ultimately lost out on both players, making Cincinnati big losers on the opening day of free agency. As for Zeitler’s replacement, the Bengals will likely have a competition this year between Christian Westerman, Trey Hopkins, T.J. Johnson and Alex Redmond. Future draft picks and potential free agent acquisitions could be in the mix, too.

    It’s also worth noting that the deal Zeitler is getting should be big enough for the Bengals to land a high compensatory pick in next year’s draft, possibly in the third round. That’s about the only good news that comes from the Bengals losing one of the best guards in the NFL.
    Last edited by Arkansas Bengal; 03-09-2017 at 04:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Do you think a Zeitler quality guard can actually provide $12 million worth of value to an offensive line? That's still top end Left Tackle money, right? It just seems like a hell of a lot of cash to put into arguably the least important spot on the line... And you guys can correct me on that if I'm wrong, but I've never heard of a guy sucking at guard and being moved to center or tackle.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mongo View Post
    Do you think a Zeitler quality guard can actually provide $12 million worth of value to an offensive line?
    The better question is whether Zeitler himself actually provided 12 million worth of value. I would say that, while he showed early promise, once Alexander got his mitts on him, his value is nowhere close.

  4. #4
    “Every player when they’re drafted thinks they’ll be with their first team their whole career, and they want to be that,” Zeitler told Jim Owczarski of “But the business side sometimes doesn’t align for that.”

    From a business perspective, there is simply no justifiable argument that Zeitler should have made a different decision. In fact, the Bengals, reportedly, didn’t even offer him a contract, preferring to give him the option of negotiating in Cincinnati only if he didn’t see the kind of offers he was hoping for. Luckily, he found what he was seeking and there are no hard feelings from Zeitler, who understands how the Bengals work.

    “I respect the whole Brown family with how they run their organization,” Zeitler said. “They have their blueprint and they stick to that and it’s worked out well for them. There’s no hard feelings or anything like that. It’s what they do and I’m sure they’ll be alright.”

    The Cleveland Browns are not a team expected to contend for a championship any time soon, but how can anyone turn down such a lucrative contract offer? In addition to the money side of the equation, Zeitler will enjoy the benefit of playing for his former offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, Hue Jackson, now head coach of the Browns, whom he has tremendous respect for.

    “Obviously it was nice that I got to work with Hue in the past in Cincinnati, knowing how he coaches and what his styles are,” Zeitler said. “He knows how to get things done.

    I’m excited to be a part of that and do whatever it takes to help the organization forward.”

    Bengals fans may not be happy that he left for a division rival, but fans should be more angry with the Bengals for not making the effort to re-sign. Zeitler could help to make the Browns a team the Bengals need to fear, and that's what fans should really be upset about, the Bengals’ lacking interest in improvement.

    “I’m very excited. You put a lot of work in the first couple years in the league and every player wants to get to free agency,” Zeitler said. “I just have been lucky. I hit it at a good time, especially with the swing in the guard value. I’m honored that the Browns wanted me.”

    That said, despite being thrilled the Browns valued him so highly, and enjoying his new multi-millionaire status, he had nothing but nice things to say about the Bengals and their fans.

    “I couldn’t have asked for a better first five years in the league than to be in Cincinnati,” Zeitler said. “I mean, I’m so thankful for the coaches, the owners taking a chance on me, picking me early in the draft and allowing me to just go in there and play and learn as I go. It was really great. I had great teammate and I think Cincinnati, they’re going to bounce back and be great again this year.”


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