The Cleveland Browns Have Ample Cap Space To Work With

The Cleveland Browns have some clear needs to address this offseason, most notably on defense. Some of the needs will ideally be filled internally via players like corner Greedy Williams and safety Grant Delpit — neither of whom played this year — back. The Browns also have their own draft picks, giving them a cost-effective way to build the roster if they can be successful in the draft.

Cleveland, though, will also have money to spend in free agency. As noted by ESPN’s Field Yates, Cleveland will carry $30 million in rollover cap space into the offseason — the highest total in the league and much more than divisional opponents like the Ravens (who have less than a $1 million) and the Steelers (who have $4.95 million extra). That is an advantage for Andrew Berry and the Cleveland front office.

The Browns also have an estimated $21,466,782 in cap space to work with before that, per Over The Cap. And, if they want to, Berry and company can create even more money but letting players go with little or no dead money hits. Some examples, per Over The Cap:

  • Jarvis Landry: $11.8 million in cap savings vs. $3 million in dead money
  • Odell Beckham Jr.: $15.75 million in cap savings vs. $0 in dead money
  • Sheldon Richardson: $12 million in cap savings vs. $1.6 million in dead money
  • Chris Hubbard:$3.6 million in cap savings vs. $1.3 million in dead money
  • Andy Janovich: $1.45 million in cap savings vs. $0 in dead money
  • David Njoku: $6 million in cap savings vs. $0 in dead money

Now, Richardson and Hubbard are far, far more likely to go than Landry or Beckham. Let’s repeat that: Richardson and Hubbard are far, far more likely to go than Landry or Beckham. They are older and easier to replace, at least in theory. Richardson, at 30, would seem likelier to go, but it’s also possible he and the team restructure a deal and he stays. All of this is in flux right now. Also worth noting: the NFL cap could be a disaster that leads to many players getting cut if the cap numbers drops heavily due to COVID-19-induced revenue losses. Right now, it’s unclear what that looks like and it will need to be negotiated by the NFL and NFLPA.

For the Browns, there are in-house deals to make first before looking into free agency. For starters, Baker Mayfield is going to want an extension (and deserves it) even if the team picks up his fifth-year option. Denzel Ward is also due an extension and should get a big deal as one of the better cornerbacks in the league. That will eat into cap space down the line, but not right away. Nick Chubb is up for a new deal too, but that’s much more complicated to consider with how running back deals are handed out at the current moment. Rashard Higgins, who developed a nice rapport with Mayfield as Mayfield ascended towards the end of the season, is also heading into free agency and will need a new deal if Cleveland wants to keep the red carpet rolled out.

From there, the Browns would have to look at a possible new deal for defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who is set to hit free agency. Cleveland might need to try re-sign him, even if it’s somewhat costly, particularly if Richardson gets let go.

After that, it’s looking for defensive starters and depth. The team really only has Ward as a legit starting corner and probably needs safety options beyond Delpit coming off of an Achilles injury and returning players like Ronnie Harrison and Andrew Sendejo. (Karl Joseph is also heading to free agency and would need to be brought back if the Browns want him.) Linebacker needs an overhaul too, although Berry’s history suggests Cleveland won’t spend big at the position. Pass rush help is needed opposite Myles Garrett with Olivier Vernon a) heading into free agency and b) having torn his Achilles.

Will all of the needs be solved via free agency? No — that seems ambitious and not really in line with how the league works most of the time. But cap space, plus the ability to create more, is a good thing for the Browns to have as they look to build on this year.

Published at Fri, 22 Jan 2021 02:01:09 +0000

By Editor