3 Worst Browns Contracts to Overcome This Offseason

The Cleveland Browns enter the NFL offseason at around $20.6 million over the salary cap, per Spotrac. Here's a look at the three worst contracts that they'll have to overcome over the next few months.

QB Deshaun Watson's mammoth contract is one of the worst that the Browns must deal with this offseason.
QB Deshaun Watson's mammoth contract is one of the worst that the Browns must deal with this offseason. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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As the Cleveland Browns prepare to navigate the offseason, the salary cap is one of the biggest obstacles in their path. The Browns' financial situation is a disaster, to say the least, as they sit north of $20.6 million over the salary cap before free agency even opens, per Spotrac.

NFL players make more today than ever before and while some of those players live up to those contracts, others don't. Keeping that in mind, check out the three worst contracts that the Browns must overcome this offseason.

1. QB Deshaun Watson — 2024 Salary: $63,977,000

If you had only seen this article's title, chances are you knew Deshaun Watson would be on the list. After all, his massive $63,977,000 cap hit in 2024 is essentially the main reason why the Browns don't have any money at the moment. Hell, that's about $5.1 million more than three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes is making next season.

If Watson was putting forth Mahomes-like performances, nobody would complain about his salary cap hit. The main issue was that Watson was essentially outperformed by a near-40-year-old Joe Flacco this season. Yes, the 28-year-old dealt with a season-ending injury, but let's compare the two QBs' numbers for a second.

QB

Starts

Record

Passing %

Passing Yards

TDs

INTs

Passer Rating

J. Flacco

5

4-1

60.3%

1,616

13

8

90.2

D. Watson

6

5-1

61.4%

1,115

7

4

84.3

Even if you forget his long list of off-field issues (and it's fairly lengthy), it's clear that Watson's play — even if he stayed healthy for all 17 games — isn't capable of living up to his price tag. It's a financial obstacle that Cleveland has no way out of this offseason due to the massive cap penalties they'd eat by waiving him. The Browns can't release Watson without taking on millions of dollars until 2026 at the earliest.

Considering how it's fairly doubtful that Watson will be willing to restructure his deal due to it already being fully guaranteed, it's easy to see how his contract limits the Browns' ceiling.