Right now, the most important question is...what is he? In my opinion, he’s a game-changer. Cribbs has the chance to literally make a big play any time he touches the ball. In high school, they’re called utility players. They don’t really have a position, but if you have someone on your team with a unique set of skills, then it increases your chances of winning. You even see them in college, to a degree, but the NFL? Nah, there is no such thing, because it seems as if you have to pigeon-hole someone into being something, and merely being limited to one position. I honestly feel that Josh Cribbs has the opportunity to revolutionize the game of football, and become the first true utility player in the NFL. What I’m going to propose won’t be simple, but given the elements in play, could definitely happen.
First off, Josh Cribbs wants to be in Cleveland. He wants to play for the Browns, and this is evident by the times we’ve seen him interviewed, as well as co-signed by the fans of the team. Anyone who thinks Cribbs is “all about the money” is a damn fool, and hasn’t followed this man, or his team much at all. Second, $900,000 is a lot of money to the average Joe (or Jane), but for what he does, it’s a downright travesty. He improves his performance each year, and has done his part to help the Browns win the games they did win this season. He’s a multiple Pro Bowler, and this year, he made All-Pro. Once again, this man is ALL…PRO. With that said, it’s not going to be a case of simply giving him more money, and all will be well. My hope is he can get what he deserves, without having to be asked to do more than he’s already proven he can do for the past few seasons.
As I said earlier, a significant part of the reason he’s successful and has such high value is because of when and how he’s used. It wouldn’t make much sense, in my opinion, to turn him into a full-time wide receiver, which is a strong possibility if he leaves Cleveland for another team. Any team who gives him a substantial increase in pay will do it with strings attached. He’s going to have to be on the field more, which I understand, but I also feel that will take away from his effectiveness, if say, they make him a full-time #2 or #3 receiver. Since this is exactly what would happen, Cleveland remains the most feasible spot for him to be. His duties have increased with the Browns, but it’s also shown how valuable this man really is. I don’t see his load getting to the point where his value will be affected it, so the question becomes…what do you pay him?
Cleveland knows him better than any other team in football, and has the chance to compensate this man to the point where he not only stays with the Browns, but also makes it easier for other players with a unique, and arguably irreplaceable, set of skills to be compensated as well, without having to be relegated to a conventional position. Let’s face it; there are other players who are in the league, cats like Pat White, Brad Smith, Julian Edelman (I know he did his thing at receiver, but he can be seen as a utility player, in my opinion). Woody Dantzler, Brian Mitchell and Dante Hall were before him, as well as others, if I sat around long enough and thought of some more. With Josh Cribbs improving every season, Cleveland can take the unprecedented step of making him the first-ever utility player in the NFL, and compensate him for his unique set of skills. He has three years left on his deal, and Mike Holmgren, aka the new Czar in Cleveland, has made it clear he wants to keep Cribbs on the team, and lets be honest; if nothing else, for the sake of their fans, who are as loyal as any team in football, they have to pay the man. Hopefully, all will end well, and Josh Cribbs will have made his mark in another record-setting fashion, and will effectively change the game for good.