CLEVELAND, Ohio — Wyatt Teller, who carried a dead alligator on his shoulders in the offseason and could probably do the same with the unsuspecting defenders he pancakes on a regular basis, has agreed with the Browns on a four-year contract extension worth $14.2 million a year, league sources told cleveland.com.
The $56.8 million deal includes $28 million guaranteed and makes him the second-highest paid guard in the NFL in terms of yearly average. Kansas City’s Joe Thuney is No. 1 at $16 million a year. (Washington’s Brandon Scherff is playing on the franchise tag of $18.03 million, which doesn’t count in terms of yearly average. The agreement keeps Teller with the Browns through 2025.
Currently the No. 2 rated guard in the NFL with an 89.8 grade by Pro Football Focus, Teller forms one of the best guard tandems in the league with three-time Pro Bowler Joel Bitonio, who’s now the 14th-highest paid guard in the league at $8.527 million a year. Bitonio, who might now need a bit of a raise, is the third-ranked guard in the league at 88.7.
During Sunday’s 41-16 victory over the Bengals, Teller delivered a crushing pancake block on safety Jessie Bates to spring Nick Chubb on his 70-yard touchdown blast, and helped bust open holes for him to rush for 137 yards and two touchdowns. For his efforts, he earned the top grade among all offensive playeres in the NFL for Week 9 at 93.8, according to PFF.
Before the season, Teller wondered if the Browns would be able to pay him his market value, or if he’d have to hit the free agent market in March.
“We have such a good team, all the money can’t go around,’’ Teller said in August. “It’s just impossible. I want to make the most that I can. We make this money for a short amount of time and 80% of the league is bankrupt after five years. So do it smart, get what you deserve, get what you earn and the rest can go down as history.’
But he noted that he wanted to remain an integral part of Browns’ star-studded line and Super Bowl contending team.
“The better I do, the better the guys around me do, the better the team does,’’ he said. “The better the team does, we all get paid. It’s not a bad problem to have for AB [GM Andrew Berry], having to deal with all this money.”
Teller, 26, is a major reason the Browns are No. 2 in the NFL with 160.2 rushing yards per game, and why Chubb is third in the NFL with 721 rushing yards despite missing two games. Chubb is also second in the league with 6.0 yards per rush.
“The mindset is, look, I’m gonna do so well that it’s gonna make Nick look better,’’ Teller told cleveland.com during trading camp. “It’s gonna make Baker [Mayfield] look better. It’s gonna make everybody look better and then we’re all gonna get paid. If it’s here, we all dream for that.”
Teller has grown close to his teammates, and has made Cleveland his second home.
“Your mindset is you want to stay,” he said. “I don’t want to leave. I love my house. I love the city. I love the community. But that’s the business side.”
A mauler who dominated during Sunday’s 41-16 victory over the Bengals, became one of the best guards in the NFL in 2020 in Kevin Stefanski’s wide-zone scheme, which suits his athletic ability perfectly.
“I had a great (right) tackle. I had one of the smartest centers I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” he said. “Our backfield is crazy. Our quarterback is one of the best move-the-pocket (guys) I’ve ever seen in my entire life. We have some of the best receivers who can get open. I mean, we are blessed. I’m blessed to have that opportunity.”
Teller also went viral during the Browns AFC Divisional loss to the Chiefs for planting safety Tyrann Mathieu on a block. “Hey, Man, 77 just put me on my ass,’’ Mathieu shouted to teammates.
Originally a fifth-round pick of the Bills out of Virginia Tech, Teller was acquired by former Browns GM John Dorsey in a trade with Buffalo on August 29, 2019 for fifth- and sixth-round picks in 2020. He spent the first half of the 2019 season as a backup, but cracked the starting lineup in Week 9 and has never looked back.
Teller is one of several big-name players the Browns have either recently signed to extensions or will. The others are Myles Garrett and Nick Chubb. Two others due for big pay days are 2018 No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield and 2018 No. 4 overall pick Denzel Ward.
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