Dec 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard (97) against the Jacksonville Jaguars at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns, Jabaal Sheard in talks but not close

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Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard is on breakout watch as he heads into his fourth season in the league, and he’s consistently done a solid job of getting to the quarterback in his first three seasons with 21 sacks to go with seven forced fumbles. The former Pitt standout looks poised to wreak havoc on QBs as part of a talented front seven, and the addition of head coach Mike Pettine couldn’t be better for Sheard.

Per the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich, Sheard’s agent Drew Rosenhaus stated that his client and the Browns have been in “extensive” contract negotiations regarding an extension (the Browns might also be working with Brian Hoyer on one, but we haven’t heard news of any progress on that front), but he added that both sides are “not close” at this point in time.

Sheard will make a meager $994,125 million next season in the final year of his deal, so it makes plenty of sense for the Browns to lock up one of their best young players on defense. We’ll see if Ray Farmer is able to get him to take a deal before the start of the season, and an extension with Sheard  would ensure that the Browns will continue to have one of the deepest outside linebacker stables in the league. This is especially key under Pettine, who coaxed a huge breakout season after former first-round bust Jerry Hughes last year.

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