Joe Schobert has said that he would love to remain with the Browns, with the team’s 2017 Pro Bowl inside linebacker slated to become a free agent on March 18. And while his future status with the Browns remains uncertain, Schobert, during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday, provided an update on where things currently are with him and the team.
“If both sides can reach and agreement, then that would be great,” said Schobert, who recorded 133 tackles and four interceptions for the Browns during the 2019 season. “I’d love that. But you never know. As of now, I really haven’t heard of anything. But like I said, there’s a month to go, and they’re probably busy over there figuring stuff out for themselves with a whole new staff and everything.”
While he hasn’t spoken yet with new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, Schobert said that he has spoken with new general manager Andrew Berry since Berry re-joined the team last month. Berry, who served as the Eagles‘ vice president of football operations in 2019, was the Browns’ vice president of player personnel when Cleveland selected Schobert in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.
During one of their conversations, Schobert said that Berry told him that he would be reaching out to Schobert’s agent over the “next couple weeks.” Schobert expects the two sides to discuss his future in Cleveland during the upcoming NFL combine in Indianapolis.
“At the end of the day, football’s a business,” Schobert said of his current situation, “and they’re gonna make the best business decision that they think, and as a player, you have to make the best decision for yourself and your family’s longevity.”
After receiving just four starts as a rookie, Schobert enjoyed a breakout season in 2017, as the former Wisconsin standout led the NFL with 144 tackles while earning his first Pro Bowl selection. Over the past two seasons, Schobert has continued to one of the NFL’s most productive linebackers, tallying 236 tackles, five sacks, five interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries over that span.
Schobert was a bargain for the Browns during his first four seasons, earning $4,278,956 over that span. When looking at the NFL’s current pay scale for inside linebackers, expect Schobert to look for a contract that will pay him in the neighborhood of $10-12 million a season, which would make him among the highest-paid players at his position.
While they currently have about $49 million in cap space, the Browns have several tough contract decisions to make in the foreseeable future. Quarterback Baker Mayfield and edge rusher Myles Garrett are entering the final year of their rookie contracts, while defensive back Damarious Randall and left tackle Greg Robinson are slated to become free agents next month.
According to Over The Cap, it would cost the Browns roughly $16,266,000 to place the franchise tag on Schobert. Teams have until March 10 to franchise tag players, and if Schobert receives a tag, the two sides would have until 4 p.m. ET on July 15 to come to terms on a long-term contract before the start of the 2020 season.
Schobert should have several suitors if he is allowed to test the open market. One team that would likely make a push to sign Schobert is the Broncos, who are looking to make upgrades at the position under second-year coach Vic Fangio.