Football / Sports

Browns sign first-round pick Justin Gilbert

The Browns signed the first draft pick of the Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine era Wednesday, but they also became enveloped in an unusual situation with another notable rookie.

Cornerback Justin Gilbert signed his rookie contract with the Browns, the team announced. Gilbert, the eighth overall pick in May's NFL Draft, received a four-year deal with a team option for a fifth season. The contract is worth $12.83 million and includes a $7,653,456 signing bonus and $12,833,502 guaranteed, according to Spotrac.com. It's worth an annual average salary of $3,208,376.

The Browns also announced a bevy of roster moves, including their decisions to place rookie running back Terrance West, defensive end Billy Winn, inside linebacker Tank Carder, offensive tackle Chris Faulk, defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel and guard Jeremiah Warren on the nonfootball injury list.

But West, a third-round pick, took to Twitter to shoot down the notion that he is injured.

"I'm healthy, ready to go," West tweeted. "(NO WORRIES) #dawgpound."

A source familiar with the situation said the NFI designations were related to the players' conditioning tests, with Carder being the exception. His injury was not disclosed. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.

West disputed the suggestion that he had a problem with his conditioning test.

"Lol I passed my conditioning test," West tweeted. "You people stop making up your own stories."

Regarding West's tweet about his conditioning test, the person familiar with the situation believes there might have been a misunderstanding between the team and the player.

Another source said West is healthy and expects him to practice this week when training camp begins. He's in line to compete with veteran Ben Tate for the Browns' starting running back job.

Players on the NFI list remain on the roster and can practice as soon as they're cleared.

The Browns' moves were made on a day when rookies, injured veterans and quarterbacks reported to camp. Other veterans are scheduled to report Friday. The first full-squad practice will be held Saturday morning.

In addition to making NFI designations, the Browns claimed undrafted rookie offensive tackle Abasi Salimu off waivers from the St. Louis Rams. They waived defensive back Royce Adams, linebacker Brandon Magee and wide receiver Conner Vernon.

But the most significant development of the day was getting Gilbert under contract. Each of the Browns' six picks from this year's draft has signed.

Gilbert was just one of two rookies in the entire NFL who entered the day unsigned. Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, the 11th overall pick, has yet to strike a deal.

Gilbert, a former standout at Oklahoma State, is widely considered the favorite to win the starting cornerback job opposite Pro Bowler Joe Haden. But Gilbert must first surpass incumbent Buster Skrine on the depth chart. Skrine practiced with the first-team defense opposite Haden throughout spring practices.

(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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