NFL.com is taking a look at the salary cap status of each team in the offseason. As part of that, they're assessing a best value for the franchises as well.
For the Browns, former Pitt standout Jabaal Sheard was declared as the top bargain.
While I figured Sheard could last in the NFL, you can count me as among those surprised at just how well he did as a rookie last season. With 8 1/2 sacks, 55 tackles, and five forced fumbles, he was one of the most impressive rookies in the entire league.
Earning only about $550,000 in 2012, Sheard was tabbed by NFL.com as Cleveland's best bargain:
Best bargain: Jabaal Sheard. Like the Cincinnati Bengals did with quarterback Andy Dalton, the other Ohio-based team found its biggest bargain in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Selected with the 37th overall pick, Sheard is due $556,375 in base salary with a $1,156,375 cap number in 2012. If he produces anywhere near the level he did during his rookie season, that's a steal.
Amazing what a couple of years can do. Around this time in 2010, Sheard was in an entirely different circumstance, having thrown a guy through a window and facing disciplinary action. He focused enough to rally for a good 2011 season and parlayed that into being drafted by the Browns.
It's still early, but it's looking like Sheard could be around the league for a while.