Offensive guard Kevin Zeitler will sign a five-year, $60 million contract with the Cleveland Browns, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The new pact carries with it $31.5 million in guarantees and makes Zeitler the highest paid guard in NFL history. Zeitler spent the first five years of his career with Cleveland’s in-state rival, the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cleveland plans to give Kevin Zeitler a five-year, $60 million deal that includes $31.5 million guaranteed, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2017
Report: Kevin Zeitler To Sign Five-Year, $60 Million Deal With Cleveland Browns
Zeitler was possibly the most sought after offensive lineman and certainly the most highly regarded guards in free agency this year. The Bengals have a number of key players who are free agents this year, but many people believe that Zeitler is the most important. He may be quite literally profiting from the Alex Mack effect. Mack’s impact on the Falcons entire offense may have helped the NFL to see the true value that an interior offensive lineman can have.
Zeitler has been a regular starter since his rookie season in Cincinnati anchoring down the right guard position and his league wide acclaim has grown over those years. At 6’4”, 320 and only 26 years old, Zeitler is only getting started. He is equally effective both as a run blocker and a pass blocker. As a run blocker, he is strong and physical and athletic enough to pull effectively. As a pass blocker he has only given up one sack in the past two seasons combined.
The Waukesha, WI native played at Wisconsin from 2008-2011 where he was a consensus All-American while clearing a path for Wisconsin tail back Montee Ball. A product of Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Zeitler was a highly touted recruit. He earned all-conference, all-region, and all-area honors multiple times and was ranked the thirty-ninth guard product in the country according to Rivals.com.
He was acquired by the Bengals with the 27th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Zeitler himself was surprised to be drafted in the first round, but the Bengals were afraid he may not get out of the first round and moved up in the draft in order to select him.