CLEVELAND (AP) — Myles Garrett’s first sack as a pro is filled with money.
The No. 1 overall pick in last month’s NFL draft, Garrett signed his four-year rookie contract with the Cleveland Browns, who gave the speedy defensive end an estimated $30.4 million package that includes a $20.3 million guaranteed signing bonus.
One week after displaying his dazzling skills at the team’s rookie minicamp, Garrett got the business side of things out of the way by signing his deal Friday. The Browns posted a video on Twitter of the former Texas A&M All-American filling out the contract’s paperwork while Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” played in the background.
The Browns are counting on Garrett, whose outside interests include writing poetry and paleontology, to energize their turnaround. Cleveland went 1-15 last season, has had just two winnings seasons since its 1999 expansion reboot and hasn’t been to the playoffs in 15 years.
Blessed with a running back’s burst, Garrett recorded 32½ sacks in three seasons for the Aggies. He was limited by a sprained ankle last season but still played at a dominant level, and the Browns didn’t pass up the chance to take him in a draft loaded with defensive talent.
Garrett was impressive during the club’s rookie minicamp, showing off his ability to blow past blockers and pressure quarterbacks.
“Did you see that guy come off the edge that one time?” coach Hue Jackson said following a practice. “Holy smokes. Oh my gosh. The guy has flashed and shown exactly why he was drafted where he was drafted. What we have to do is continue to let him be who he is and play the way we think he can. It is exciting to see. I haven’t been around a lot of guys like him. It is fun.”
Garrett has also displayed an easygoing personality and eagerness to succeed. He knows there are high expectations as the first overall pick, but he isn’t hiding from them.
“I’m not worried about what people expect from me or what they think I am going to do,” Garrett said. “My expectations are definitely higher than what most others have for me. I hold myself to that every single time I step on the field, whether I’m going against whoever is out there for rookie camp or if I am going against the very best or if I am just trying to learn the playbook or just being a great man in general.”
Garrett caused a stir shortly after being drafted when he said he was targeting Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for his first sack. The Browns open next season against the Steelers, their longtime rival who has overpowered Cleveland in recent years.
And while Garrett’s comments could fuel the Steelers, he didn’t backtrack on his remarks.
“I think that was kind of blown up, but I stand by it,” Garrett said. “We are looking to get after it. Why should I be afraid of saying those kinds of things? That is what any team would say or any player would say. You are trying to make a name for yourself. You are trying to go out there and win games just like they are. They are not going to shy away from the challenge and neither are we.”
Not long after Garrett’s deal was finalized, the Browns signed rookie defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, a sixth-round pick.
Brantley arrived in Cleveland with a battery complaint hanging over him, but earlier this week, prosecutors in Florida dismissed his case, saying there was “no reliable evidence upon which an arrest or prosecution would be warranted or legally justified.”
The Browns felt comfortable enough with Brantley’s situation to draft him, and as it turned out, their instincts were right.
Brantley led Florida with 9½ tackles for loss last season and had 2½ sacks for the Gators before declaring for the draft following his junior season.
With Garrett and Brantley under contract, Cleveland has signed seven of the 10 players the club drafted last month.