Greg Newsome II has made plenty of noise over the course of this offseason that he wasn’t happy with his role on the Browns last season. That’s led to plenty of speculation that the cornerback wants out of Cleveland.
That speculation took on a new life on Tuesday morning. That speculation, though, was quickly squashed.
Newsome, who has two years plus the possibility of a fifth-year option remaining on his rookie deal, recently returned to his original agent, Drew Rosenhaus, after having been with Klutch Sports last season. Rosenhaus tweeted the reunion on Tuesday morning.
Moments after Rosenhaus’ tweet came another one from the Orange and Brown Report’s Brad Stainbrook saying Newsome “would like to be traded,” according to a source. However, both Newsome and Rosenhaus quickly went to work trying to defuse the situation.
Rosenhaus, when asked by the Beacon Journal if Newsome requested a trade, texted back, “No he has not.” The agent did meet with Browns general manager Andrew Berry.
Newsome himself took to Twitter to refute the story. He did so by quote tweeting the original Stainbrook tweet which said he asked for a trade.
“Ok y’all sit back a minute and lets think about this together. I just launched a softball game in Cleveland (laughing emoji)” Newsome tweeted. “I’ll just leave it there. (laughing emoji) (skull emjoi).”
Newsome announced on Monday that he would be hosting a celebrity softball game at the Lake County Captains’ ballpark in Eastlake on June 24. The “Greg Newsome and Friends Celebrity Softball Game” will begin at 4 p.m. with a home run derby, followed at 5 p.m. by the game itself.
The Browns are scheduled to begin their voluntary offseason training program on Monday. Newsome is expected to be in attendance.
Newsome and new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz have talked this offseason. Part of those discussions involve his role on the defense, something that was clearly an issue to him last season.
With the emergence of 2022 rookie Martin Emerson Jr. on the outside, Newsome found himself playing in the slot for a significant number of snaps when the Browns went to a three-cornerback look. Newsome played, according to Pro Football Focus, 374 snaps in the slot — 299 more than the second-highest total of 75 by A.J. Green — and 378 snap out wide.
“It’s difficult, especially going from outside to inside,” Newsome said when asked about playing inside on Dec. 28, prior to the Week 17 game at Washington. “I like playing outside, too, so I mean it’s definitely a role that I would like to have, but more so I feel like I would like to have it more on a more matchup basis instead of just having me just be inside the whole time. So, yeah, that’s something that I’m kind of going to work through.”
However, since the season ended in January, Newsome has made it abundantly clear he does not like the role. He was asked on Twitter if he was “open to playing slot (cornerback) next year or do you prefer to be on the outside?,” to which he responded with a emphatic “NO.”
Two subsequent retweet by Newsome backed up his feelings. One included a NextGen Stats chart showing the lowest target rate among 2022 NFL cornerbacks in man coverage, the other was a reply from teammate Perrion Winfrey that included a gif that essentially said, “Hell no.”
Browns general manager Andrew Berry made it clear when asked at the NFL Scouting Combine in late February that the organization had no interest in moving on from Newsome.
“We always have conversations with our guys, whether it’s at the end of the season or into the offseason, feel good about where Greg is,” Berry said. “He’s going to be a pretty big part of what we’re doing moving forward. I think Greg, one of his value adds is the fact that he can play outside and inside, but we think he’s a good young player, and I know Jim is excited to work with him as well.”
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