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Wednesday's NFL: Browns sign DE Myles Garrett to $125M deal

Detroit News wire services

Cleveland — Myles Garrett’s on-field misbehavior last season damaged his public image. It didn’t change how the Cleveland Browns feel about him.

The team signed Garrett to a five-year, $125 million contract extension on Wednesday, making the talented edge rusher the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. The deal includes $100 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network.

The timing of Garrett’s extension is surprising since the last time he played in a game it ended with him ripping off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and striking him in the head with it. The shocking attack led to a six-game suspension for Garrett and questions about his character.

Myles Garrett

But despite a league ban that effectively ended Cleveland’s playoff hopes, the Browns have never wavered in their belief in Garrett as a person or player. They wanted to make certain they’ll have the 24-year-old for multiple years, and he will now anchor their defense through the 2026 season.

“It would be remiss of me not to address the fact that we are choosing to do this after a season during which Myles was suspended,” said Browns first-year general manager Andrew Berry.

“Myles has been accountable for his mistake and we view the incident as well out of character. We don’t believe one moment should define him based on how he has handled himself prior to and in the months after last year’s incident.

“We are excited to ensure that Myles will stay in Cleveland for the foreseeable future.”

Garrett posted a video on Instagram of him signing the deal and then writing a note he pushed in front of the camera that said: “Cleveland keep betting on me. World keep betting against us.”

Garrett’s agent, Bus Cook, and the Browns had been working on the record-setting package for months, and they finalized it amid uncertainty about the opening of training camp later this month and whether there will be a 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garrett has 301/2 sacks in 37 games since the Browns selected Garrett from Texas A&M three years ago. Garrett had 10 sacks in 10 games last season before the infamous incident with Rudolph, who tangled with the defensive end in the closing seconds of Cleveland’s 21-7 win over the rival Steelers on Nov. 14.

Franchise tag news

Dak Prescott will play whatever becomes of the 2020 season under the one-year franchise tag after the Cowboys and their star quarterback couldn’t agree on a long-term contract.

Clubs had until Wednesday afternoon to reach multiyear deals with players given the franchise tag. Of the 14 tagged in March, two have agreements, including NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry with Tennessee just before the deadline.

Two more — Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue of Jacksonville — haven’t signed the one-year contract that goes with the tag.

They can stay away from team activities without the risk of being fined. Ngakoue has said he won’t play for the Jaguars and wants to be traded.

Prescott signed his $31.4 million contract in June. Prescott, the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, earned slightly more than $4 million total in the four years of his rookie contract after being drafted in the fourth round.

Henry and the Titans agreed on a multiyear deal reported to be at $50 million over four years.

The Bengals used the $17.9 million tag on Green despite the seven-time Pro Bowler missing all of last season because of an ankle injury.

Extra points

Former Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills was among 87 protesters arrested outside Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s home Tuesday night as they advocated for the arrests of the police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in March.

According to the Louisville Courier Journal, Stills has been charged with intimidating a participant in a legal process, which is a felony, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

The charges match those of the other 86 arrested during the protest encouraging Cameron to arrest the officers — identified as Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove — involved in Taylor’s death.

... The Browns signed LSU safety Grant Delpit to his rookie deal on Wednesday, meaning all of Cleveland’s 2020 draft class is under contract.

... David Lewis, a key member of the Buccaneers’ 1979 team that reached the NFC title game, has died. He was 65.