Dawson: "Don't make me break your hand." - Matt Sullivan
Over at The Guardian, they put together a wonderful interactive map that allows you to compare salaries of each team in the NFL by position, including offense, defense, and special teams. Before or after you read this article, you should really check out the tool and compare a few teams you are interested in.
Remember, the data is based on what teams had invested during the 2012 season, so with free agency coming up, it's not an accurate glimpse into what teams will have heading into 2013 (for that, you can go to our piece from earlier in January, where we highlighted that the Browns will have $48.9 million in cap space, second most in the league).
Anyway, back to The Guardian's article on 2012:
On Offense: The Browns invested $46.2 million on offensive players, which was ranked 26th in the NFL. The investments, in order from highest to lowest by position, were as follows: OT ($14.63 million), RB ($8.41 million), WR ($6.85 million), TE ($6.43 million), QB ($4.02 million), C ($3.10 million), and OG ($2.78 million). The investment at tackle is well worth it.
On Defense: The Browns invested $57.2 million on defensive players, which was ranked 11th in the NFL. The investments, in order from highest to lowest by position, were as follows: LB ($19.00 million), CB ($14.57 million), DT ($12.16 million), DE ($7.58 million), S ($3.87 million). It definitely showed that the Browns didn't do anything to the safety position after Mike Adams left for Denver.
On Special Teams: The Browns invested $5.2 million on special teams players, which was ranked 8th in the NFL. They don't get into specifics with this one, but I assume that it includes the kicker, punter, and long snapper only. In that case, Phil Dawson would have been largely responsible, with his franchise tag, for the Browns being one of the higher ranked teams.
Cumulatively, the Browns invested $108.6 million on players, which was ranked 20th in the NFL.