Browns sign Pro Bowl lineman to contract extension


FILE – Cleveland Browns offensive guard Joel Bitonio (75) gets set at the line of scrimmage during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 17, 2021, in Cleveland. The Browns made another huge investment into their offensive line, signing the three-time Pro Bowl left guard to a three-year, $48 million contract extension on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)

BEREA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Cleveland Browns signed guard Joel Bitonio to a three-year contract extension on Wednesday.

The three-year deal is reportedly worth $48 million making Bitonio the highest paid guard in the NFL.

The Pro Bowl guard is now under contract with the Browns through the 2025 season.

“I’ve been here for eight years now and seen a lot of ups and downs. To be part of that and for the team to have faith in me and allow me to be here for my entire career, it really means a lot. It’s special,” Bitonio said. “You see guys switch teams a lot and go from team to team, great players in this league. I saw Joe Thomas end his career here. It’s something when you get into year 8 and year 9, it gets in the back of your mind where it’d be really special to be in Cleveland your whole career and try to win a championship with these guys.

The 30-year old made 104 regular season starts, the second-most by any Browns player since the team’s return in 1999. He hasn’t missed a single snap since the start of the 2017 season.

“After last season, we decided that one of our major football priorities would be to make Joel Bitonio a Brown for the rest of his career,” said Andrew Berry, Cleveland’s Executive VP of Football Operations and General Manager. “Joel is one of our most decorated players and is the ideal personification of our ‘Tough, Smart, Accountable’ mantra. We value Joel’s high-level performance, leadership, consistency and durability.

Bitonio has been named to the Pro Bowl and earned second-team All Pro recognition in each of the past three seasons.

“Joel Bitonio is everything you’d ever want in a football player,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We always know exactly what we are going to get from Joel every rep, every practice, every game. His consistent effort, exceptional play, and team-first mentality make him a great teammate and truly a perfect example for every player that will ever wear brown and orange for the Cleveland Browns. Handing Joel a game ball in the locker room last year when we clinched a spot in playoffs will be a career highlight for me. Joel deserved that moment because of all the hard work and effort he puts into this organization. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to coach Joel. Congrats to him and his family. This contract is so well-deserved.”

The signing comes just a day after the Browns announced a new four-year deal for guard Wyatt Teller.

The Browns visit the Patriots Sunday at 1 p.m. on WKBN-27.

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