Though it had only been spoken in rumor form since the 2007 season came to an end, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has officially reported that the Cleveland Browns have awarded Romeo Crennel with a two-year contract extension, keeping him with the team through 2011. The deal is said to be in the range of $4 million.
This signing comes not even a month after the Browns offered a two-year extension to their offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski. And that signing came not too long after the Indians (Cleveland’s baseball franchise) signed their Head Coach in Eric Wedge to three-year extension during the middle of this past season.
While rewarding Crennel for his solid efforts and turnaround of the Browns this season seems just due, I’m on the fence with this one. The Browns had a supposed successor in place with Todd Grantham, who is now the team’s former defensive coordinator after he was given the curb following an abysmal defensive season for the team. So while no clear plan is presently in place to succeed the oldest coach in the NFL, giving him an extension after one year of success seems a bit much – especially given the way that other coaches (Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino) have honored their contracts in recent history.
I know that award voting is an awful benchmark to use, but is there a chance that the league was telling Cleveland something by not allocating a single Coach of the Year vote to Crennel despite being one of the biggest surprises in the NFL? The Browns will face an exponentially tougher schedule in the upcoming season, so do not count out good old hindsight come this time next year. General Manager Phil Savage may look like a genius now, but in a world of “what have you done for me lately,” a regression will not be tolerated by too many fans in the Midwest.
Crennel Signs Extension [Cleveland Plain Dealer]