Lomas Brown, a fixture at left tackle with the Arizona Cardinals the last three seasons, accepted a three-year contract with the expansion Cleveland Browns, according to news reports.
The Arizona Republic said the clincher was the Browns' willingness to add money to the second year of an offer that originally was for $10.5 million. But $4.1 million of it was in the final year, when Brown could be released.
Phoenix TV station KSAZ which also reported Brown agreed to go to Cleveland, said the deal included a provision that Brown will be the first player introduced at the Browns' first home game.
The Tribune said Brown, a 14-year veteran, was telling friends goodbye on Monday and had rejected an 11th-hour appeal from Cardinals head coach Vince Tobin and others.
The Cardinals offered a $2 million signing bonus and were willing to give Brown $4 million this year -- about $500,000 more than the Browns' offer -- but were unwilling to go for a third year for a player soon to be 36, The Republic said.
Otherwise, the Cardinals' $6 million offer was said to be about $400,000 less than that of Cleveland's for two years, and Cleveland was said to have offered a $3 million signing bonus.
Brown declined comment, but his agent, Lamont Smith, criticized the Cardinals for unclear negotiations that lost a player who wanted to stay. "He deserved more respect than this," Smith told The Tribune.
The Republic said team sources disputed Smith's version of the offers.
Browns coach chris Palmer said last week he figures there's still a lot of good football left in Brown, who has made the Pro Bowl seven times.
"He's in great shape," Palmer said. "Plus, he'd be a great role model for the younger players."
The Republic said Brown's decision cleared the way for the Cardinals, to step up talks Monday with linebacker Jamir Miller, to whom they had yet to make a contract offer.
"We still want him back," a Cardinals source told The Republic.
Miller visited the Chicago Bears last week, but the Bears might not be able to afford Miller after signing offensive tackle Blake Brockermeyer to a four-year, $17 million contract.
Agent Neil Schwartz said Brown's decision might have opened the door for the Cardinals to give renewed interest to his client, offensive tackle Wayne Gandy, a free agent who spent his entire five-year career with the Los Angeles and St. Louis Rams.
Schwartz said the Cardinals made it clear Gandy was a possibility only if Brown signed elsewhere.
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