Cleveland Browns Have $50.40 Million in Cap Space After Releasing Bess, Tagging Mack

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After roster moves involving Alex Mack, Davone Bess, and others, we present a full breakdown of the Cleveland Browns having the third most cap space in the NFL.

With free agency less than a week away, it's time to re-assess the amount of cap space the Cleveland Browns have. Since the last time we broke down the team's available cap space, the Browns have made several roster moves, some of which affect the cap:

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, Bess' guaranteed base salary for 2014 will be voided because he landed on the non-football injury list last season:

Assuming that Cabot is correct, in our derivation of the cap, we will not have to treat Bess' salary as dead money -- he will be completely off the books. Tyms and Hazel did not make enough money to factor into the Top 51 offseason rule, which states that only the salaries of the Top 51 highest-paid players on the team count against the cap.

Please note that some of this is theoretical at the moment. Technically, Mack has not signed his tender yet, and neither has Robertson. It it 99.9% likely that Robertson will sign his tender, but with Mack, the Browns might be able to reach a long-term deal with him, which would change the value of this year's salary. For the purposes of this post, we assume that Mack and Robertson both sign their tenders. Therefore, the roster moves made recently have the following cap implications:

Top 51 Roster Change Implications
C Alex Mack $       10,039,000
WR Davone Bess $       (3,067,000)
ILB Craig Robertson $             570,000
1 player from Top 51 $           (495,000)
Top 51 Changes $          7,047,000

To interpret the table above...

  • The transition tag for Mack costs $10.039 million.
  • Bess' voided base salary in 2014 saves $3.067 million.
  • Robertson's ERFA tender costs $570,000.
  • The final $495,000 that we remove is due to the number of players added and removed from the Top 51 (the bottom players are all making $495,000). Mack and Robertson were added to the Top 51, but Bess was subtracted. Therefore, there was a net loss of one of those $495,000 salaries that was bumped from the Top 51 to account for a higher salary.
  • For all of the roster moves (Mack, Bess, Robertson, Tyms, Hazel), the Browns only had to pay $7.047 million.
Change in Top 51 Cap Total
Previous Top 51 Total $       89,248,061
Top 51 Changes $          7,047,000
Current Top 51 Total $       96,295,061

The table above shows the change in the team's Top 51 cap total. This is the only value that changes in our derivation of the Browns' available cap space.

Updated Derivations of Browns' Cap Space (as of 3/6/14)

NFL 2014 Salary Cap: $133 million
Browns' Rollover from 2013: $25.09 million
Browns' 2014 Adjusted Salary Cap: $133 million + $25.09 million = $158.09 million

Browns' Top 51 Cap Total: $96.295 million
Browns' Dead Money for 2014: $11.394 million
Browns' Total Cap Spent for 2014: $96.295 million + $11.394 million = $107.69 million

When you subtract the two subtotals above ($158.09 million - $107.69 million), you can see how the "$50.40 million in cap space" figure was derived. If accurate, this would once again give the Browns the third most cap space in the NFL, behind only the Raiders and the Jaguars.

Note: We consult several sources for our salary cap figures, including OverTheCap and Spotrac.

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