Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett has not yet earned megadeal

Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Rumors abound that the Cleveland Browns are going to offer Myles Garrett a megadeal.

Myles Garrett is a very good defensive end for the Cleveland Browns. Garrett is a good enough player that the Cleveland Browns should absolutely lock him up long term to a nice deal. Garrett is not worth being the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL, however. He’s not only not worth that type of money, but he also hasn’t earned it.

Garrett has only played in about 73% of games possible since he entered the league. Be it due to injury or suspension, Garrett has missed five games or more twice in his three seasons. You could say “well that doesn’t mean he’ll miss anymore” and to that, I’d say, it doesn’t mean he won’t either. Garrett is notorious for his penalty causing play, something that popped up last year to start the season. Sure, that doesn’t’ mean he’s dirty, despite accusations of being such, but it does mean the NFL referees are going to be watching Garrett like a hawk. Especially after he went all Conan the Barbarian on Mason Rudolph.

So expect far more penalties.

If his play keeps the defense on the field, then that’s a problem. To that end, there is a debate you could make about how good Garrett really is. In his first year, the one where he missed a huge chunk of time, the Browns were actually 14th in total yards against. They were 19th against the pass and seventh against the rush.

After that season, the Browns were 30th in 2018, and 22nd in 2019. What’s most damning, while he obviously missed time in 2019, he played every game in 2018. Now, none of that is to say that it is solely his fault the team defense has been trash. What is an indication of is that he’s clearly not able to dominate the game so singularly that he deserves to eat up 13% of the team’s total cap number.

Garrett has yet to prove he can dominate an offense the way an Aaron Donald can, or the way a J.J. Watt used to (and maybe still could). He has not recorded a full sack in nearly half of his games played.

Looking at 2018, Garrett wasn’t even first on his own team in tackles for a loss. Jamie Collins was. While he was sixth in the league in sacks that year, he was 18th in tackles among all defenders with 10+ sacks. There were only 22 players who recorded 10+ sacks in 2018, and Garrett was the fourth lowest tackler among the group.

Don’t think tackling running backs is important? Calais Campbell and Danielle Hunter both recorded 70+ tackles that year and both were on much better defenses than the Browns. For Garrett to warrant that type of money, he needs to put up that type of production. If you’re getting paid more than those guys, you better have the stats and performances to back it up. In three seasons he only has seven multi-sack games and has only won twice in those seven games. Clearly his sacks aren’t equaling wins.

In fact, let’s look deeper. In his ten games in 2019, he recorded 10 sacks. A good ratio to many. Looking deeper, however, you see that he only had five sacks across eight games. Recording five sacks in his first two games, and then only recording four sacks in his last seven games. All that while going without across three straight games. Across those three final games, Garrett only mustered five tackles and twice only played 4% of the snaps possible. He routinely tops 20%. A sign he was yanked for better production.

Garrett’s a good player, maybe even a great player but he’s yet to show he can handle an opposing team the way Donald can. Donald is making $22.5 million, is a six-time Pro Bowler and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year winner. He’s a five-time All-Pro selection and has actually lead the league in sacks once, something Garrett hasn’t done. Garrett doesn’t deserve a deal better than Donald’s.

I’d say $20 million is fair. Either way, let’s hope for everyone’s sake, that Garett gets even better in 2020.

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