The Browns hope that continues in the fall and for years to come.
Mingo, the No. 6 pick in the draft, agreed to a four-year contract with a fifth-year club option in the wee hours, signed the deal and joined the rest of the rookie class for practice later in the morning.
“He wanted to get to work and get the contract behind him,” agent Jeffrey Guerriero said in an email.
The deal is worth approximately $16 million for the first four years.
Mingo was the last of the Browns’ five draft picks to sign. Cleveland’s rookies reported Friday, so Mingo was a couple of days late. But he’s in well in advance of the start of full-squad training camp, which begins Thursday.
Mingo (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) will enter camp as a backup at outside linebacker but is expected to see significant time as a pass rusher. He played defensive end at LSU, totaling 119 tackles, 15 sacks, 11 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 40 games.
“I’m definitely looking forward to training camp, the chance to put on pads, get out here with the old vets and just swap it up,” Mingo said last month. “I’m just looking forward to it, being able to come out here, put the pads on for the first time and actually, I guess, measure up to the older guys and see where I am and see what I have to do to get better.”
The collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011 removes much of the drama and contention from rookie negotiations — the length and dollars are predetermined — so the only holdup with Mingo was the inclusion of offset language.
The Browns received the language they desired. If Mingo is released before the end of the contract and signed by another team, the amount of the new deal would be subtracted from what the Browns owe him.
In exchange, Mingo will reportedly receive his signing bonus early.
That follows a weekend trend that saw Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan (the No. 3 overall pick) and Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson (No. 4) sign.
Veterans Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard are the starting outside linebackers, but the Browns expect Mingo to push for playing time. They are also counting on him becoming a force rushing the passer off the edge.
As a junior in 2012, Mingo started 10 of 13 games and had 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. He had eight sacks in 2011.