CLEVELAND — Nothing else is in rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo’s way but some blockers.
The Browns signed the No. 6 overall pick from LSU in this year’s NFL draft to a four-year contract Sunday. The deal, which is worth over $16 million, includes a team option in the fifth year.
Mingo’s agent, Jeff Guerriero, finalized the package with the Browns early in the morning. Mingo had been the team’s only unsigned rookie as the sides clashed over “offset” language. However, the agreement means the speedy outside linebacker will not miss any significant time and will be on the field Thursday when the Browns open their first training camp under first-year coach Rob Chudzinski.
The Browns were able to keep the offset language in the contract, which means they will not have to pay him the remainder of his deal if he is cut before it expires and signs with another team. Mingo will receive his entire signing bonus by December.
The Browns previously signed their other rookies — cornerback Leon McFadden, safety Jamoris Slaughter, defensive end Armonty Bryant and guard Garrett Gilkey — to deals.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Mingo played in 40 games at LSU. He made 15 starts and recorded 119 tackles and 15 sacks.
Even before he was drafted, Mingo heard skeptics say he’s too light to play linebacker in the pros and will have a difficult time against bigger, stronger offensive linemen. However, Mingo insists his weight won’t be an issue, and the Browns are confident his exceptional quickness will give him an advantage.
Mingo played defensive end in college, but will switch to outside linebacker in new coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4, multifront alignment. He mostly worked with the second-team defense in spring practices, behind Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard. Mingo, though, is expected to have an impact on Cleveland’s defense in his first season.
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