The Cleveland Browns have signed three-time All-Pro offensive guard Joel Bitonio to a three-year contract extension. The news comes a day after the Browns signed All-Pro offensive guard Wyatt Teller to a lucrative four-year contract extension. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reports the extension is worth "roughly $48 million."
In terms of average annual value, Bitonio's new money equals the contract signed by Joe Thuney in the offseason. It also exceeds the one Teller signed a day earlier.
In a press release from the team, Bitonio discussed the extension:
"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. 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."
Bitonio, 30, was a second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has started each of the 103 games in which he has played. The Nevada product has also been selected to three Pro Bowls.
Executive VP of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry has high hopes for how the veteran's career concludes.
"We are all excited about this extension and hopeful that at the end of his career we will all be looking forward to celebrating Joel's gold jacket fitting in Canton," Berry said.
Cleveland freed up some future money with the release of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this week. Beckham was scheduled to count $15 million against the salary cap each of the next two seasons. The Browns are heavily invested in the offensive line with J.C. Tretter, Jack Conklin, Wyatt Teller and now Bitonio scheduled to count $50,260,294 against the salary cap in 2022. Left tackle Jedrick Wills -- a first-round pick -- is still on his rookie deal.
General manager Andrew Berry is leaning into the team's strength -- the running game -- this year. In addition to the massive investment in the offensive line, Berry has signed running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to contract extensions in the past 15 months. Cleveland is No. 2 in the NFL in rushing yards per game (160.2) behind Baltimore.