Wyatt Teller came to Cleveland in 2019 in less-than-ideal circumstances for an offensive lineman looking to find his niche.
Traded by Buffalo in exchange for two late-round picks, Teller joined the Browns at the tail end of the 2019 preseason. A left guard with the Bills, Teller was asked to switch to right guard and prepare himself to compete at a spot that hadn't yet been settled. The Browns needed help at the position, and Teller was one of a number of possible solutions.
Two years later and a whole lot of highlight-worthy pancake blocks later, Teller has not only found a place to call home on Cleveland's offensive line, but he's also emerged as one of the NFL's best interior linemen. On Tuesday, Teller signed a four-year contract extension to stay in Cleveland, the place where he came into his own as one of the most ferocious guards in the league.
"Wyatt Teller's NFL journey is a remarkable story of resiliency and work ethic," said Andrew Berry, Browns EVP of Football Operations and General Manager. "He entered the NFL as an unheralded 5th round pick, was traded to a completely new organization and then placed in a position battle that gave him no assurances of playing time. Yet, rather than bemoaning his lot, he looked at his challenge as a great opportunity. During that time he completely changed his body composition, competed daily to earn his starting job and developed a ceaseless desire to learn from the best OL coach in our sport. To see Wyatt turn himself into one of the top guards in the game has been an enormous pleasure. Congratulations to Wyatt and his family — but please, no more alligators!"
The Browns announced Tuesday that Wyatt Teller has signed a contract extension through the 2025 season. Teller took over as the team's starting right guard in Week 9 in 2019 and has played a major role in helping the Browns build one of the best run games in the league ever since.
Teller, who went viral this past offseason for carrying an alligator on his shoulders, took over as the Browns' right guard in Week 9 of 2019, re-earned a full-time starting role before the 2020 season and is now, unequivocally, a cornerstone member of a Browns offensive line that's been among the NFL's best over the past two seasons.
Cleveland currently ranks second in the NFL with an average of 160.2 rushing yards per game — one year after it finished third in the league with an average of 148.4 per game. The Browns lead the NFL this season in rushing yards (1,442), rushing average (5.28), rushing touchdowns (16) and rushes of 10-plus yards (46). Since 1999, only the 2004 Kansas City Chiefs have recorded more rushing touchdowns (18) in the first nine weeks of a season than the Browns this season (16).
"It's been a long road," Teller said. "I faced adversity. Drafted later than you think, and then I had an opportunity and tried to make the most of it. I got traded after that and was disappointed at first, but then you realize you're wanted by another team and wanted by another city. I was given another opportunity and luckily I made the most of it."
Teller, 26, earned second-team All-Pro honors and finished the 2020 season with a Pro Football Focus grade of 92.9, the best among all right guards. Currently, Teller carries a PFF grade of 89.8, the second-best among all guards in the NFL.
"Wyatt is a tenacious, physical football player," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "He's a tone-setter for our team and brings a physicality that helps establish the brand of football we want to play. Wyatt is also an extremely diligent and hard worker. We love having him on our team and are excited for him and his family to be rewarded with this hard-earned contract."
Teller, who starred at Virginia Tech, was a fifth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He started seven games at left guard as a rookie with the Bills. He was traded to the Browns along with a seventh-round selection on Aug. 29, 2019, in exchange for fifth- and sixth-round picks in the 2020 draft. Teller was utilized as a backup for the first half of his first season in Cleveland before earning his first start Nov. 3, 2019, against the Broncos.
"The name of the game is I haven't made it," Teller said. "I've still got to continue to work and earn it."