The Cleveland Browns now have a head coach, a defensive coordinator and newly announced offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The team has 10 draft picks in the upcoming draft, including 2 in the first and third rounds. They also have added ammunition in the way of adding talent with their cap space. Over The Cap has produced cap numbers for all of the NFL teams as of yesterday.
Based on their calculations the Browns sit with the 3rd most salary cap going into the off-season. This does not include any players that will be released (Devone Bess and Brandon Weeden are expected cuts) or and tags or tenders given to restricted or unrestricted free agents (TJ Ward is expected to be franchise tagged). Those actions will effect the current and future cap spaces available.
The Browns currently have around $105 million counted towards an estimated $150 million dollar cap, leaving them with $45 million dollars to spend. Some of that money will go to draft picks but a majority of that is available to improve the team in free agency or contract extensions to current players (Joe Haden hopefully). The Jacksonville Jaguars have $4 million dollars more then the Browns and sit in second place in the cap space “race.” Amazingly the Oakland Raiders have $61 million dollars available to spend, not so amazingly the team also has needs all over the roster. The Raiders were in dire cap problems 2 years ago but have quickly got themselves out and on the right cap path.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions. The Cowboys are a whopping $24 million over the salary cap, the Steelers and Saints are $12 million over and the Lions are $5 million over. These teams will have to cut players, restructure contracts (push cap hits to later years) and/or hope players are willing to take less money instead of getting cut. Restructured contracts are often the reason teams are over the cap, they push back salary cap hits to get under the cap in the current year. The Cowboys, Steelers and Saints may need to take the Raiders approach at some point in time to get their cap in order.
How do you want to see the Browns spend their cap space? Should they splurge on a certain player or position? Should they spread the money around to increase the team’s depth? Should they spend most of their money on their own players in Haden, Ward and Alex Mack? What would you do? Give us your thoughts below.