Whether or not Jimmy Haslam opens up his wallet to give the Cleveland Browns' new head coach a big pay day, one thing is for certain: the coach, along with Joe Banner and whoever the general manager ends up being, will have a lot of cap space to spend this offseason.
According to ESPN's John Clayton, the Browns will have $48.9 million in cap space heading into 2013, with is the second highest amount in the league. Only the Cincinnati Bengals, at $55.1 million, have more space.
One reason the Browns' cap space is high is because they are rolling over $14.3 million of the space they had in 2012. Per the league's collective bargaining agreement, teams must spend at least 88.8% of the salary cap in 2013. The salary cap has been estimated at $121 million for the upcoming season. Doing a little math ($121 million - $48.9 million) says the Browns are currently at $72.1 million. Teams need to have at least $107.44 million spent, which means the Browns need to invest at least $35.34 million.
Therefore, you can treat the team's actual spending amount as anywhere between $35.34 million and $48.9 million. That should be pretty enticing for a new coach and general manager in year one, right? The Browns only need to invest about $5 million in their rookie class, and the only "high profile" player that might need to be re-signed is kicker Phil Dawson.
Side note: last year around this time, the Browns had about $29 million available in cap space, compared to $48.9 million this year.
I'm sure we have some people out there who are more knowledgeable about the NFL's salary cap situation and minimum spending requirements. If there are any errors or observations, please feel free to share them in the comments section below!