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Browns sign first-round pick Wimbley to six-year deal

The Cleveland Browns on Saturday signed first-round draft choice Kamerion Wimbley, ensuring that the Browns will have their first-round choice in camp on time.

Cleveland rookies are scheduled to report to camp Sunday.

The 13th overall selection in the draft, Wimbley signed a six-year contract. The team did not disclose financial terms, but ESPN.com learned the deal has a maximum value of $23.7 million, including $9.3 million in guarantees. That represents a nearly 10 percent increase in the guaranteed money paid to the 13th overall pick in the 2005 draft.

"It shows the fans and the team I'm ready to be a Brown," Wimbley said.

The deal will be voided after five years provided Wimbley reaches predetermined playing time thresholds, and then the Browns would have the right to "buy back" the voided year by paying Wimbley a sizeable bonus.

"We are extremely pleased to have Kamerion signed prior to the start of training camp," Browns general manager Phil Savage said in a statement. "We are looking forward to seeing Kamerion grow and develop as a member of the Browns."

A full day of negotiations Friday between Browns officials and Wimbley's agent, Joe Linta, brought the sides close to an agreement, with a framework all but completed by the end of the day. The balance of the details on the contract for the former Florida State defensive end were completed in a Saturday bargaining session.

"I told these guys we have two choices. We can finish this thing and go first or sit around and play chess until the No. 12 and No. 14 get done," Linta said.

A consummated contract with Wimbley is key for the Browns, who have not had a first-round selection in camp on time since 2000. It might also create momentum for negotiations with other choices in the middle portion of the first round. As of Saturday afternoon, just one other first-rounder, top overall selection Mario Williams of the Houston Texans, who signed before the draft even began, had agreed to terms.

"This was very difficult because it's the first deal outside of Mario Williams under the new [collective bargaining agreement]," Linta said.

Said Wimbley: "It's like a weight off your shoulders. It's something you've been thinking about since you've been drafted."

Wimbley will move to linebacker in the Cleveland 3-4 defensive front, and his skills set is a good fit with the hybrid responsibilities of that position. Browns coaches project that Wimbley will start immediately and hope that he and 12-year veteran linebacker Willie McGinest, signed as an unrestricted free agent during the spring, will add punch to a lackluster pass rush.

The Browns notched just 23 sacks in 2005, the fewest in the league, and were one of just two teams that did not have at least one defender with more than five sacks.

Blessed with a long, lean frame (6-foot-4, 248 pounds), Wimbley is an athletic "edge" defender with an explosive first step. He has been clocked in the low-4.6s in the 40 and, at the combine Wimbley posted a 38½-inch vertical jump. He appeared in 49 games during his Seminoles career and started 13 contests, finishing with 108 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and 31 pressures. Even as a situational player in his first three college seasons, Wimbley flashed superb backside pursuit skills and closing ability.

In addition to his physical attributes, Wimbley is known as a strong character-type player, a natural leader and a hard worker.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.