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Breaking Down the Cap Hits Cleveland Absorbs for New Punter Andy Lee

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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

When the Cleveland Browns acquired P Andy Lee from the San Francisco 49ers, they also took on the remainder of his contract, which runs through the 2018 season. However, they did not take everything, as we explain below.

P Andy Lee - Browns' Inherited Contract Breakdown
Base Salary Signing Bonus Roster Bonus Total Cap Hit
2015 $          2,050,000 $            500,000
$                       0 $        2,050,000
2016 $          2,833,000 $            500,000 $                       0 $        2,833,000
2017 $          3,433,000 $                        0 $                       0 $        3,433,000
2018 $          4,134,000 $                        0 $                       0 $        4,134,000
Total $        12,450,000 $         1,000,000 $                       0 $      12,450,000
  • Lee signed a contract extension with the 49ers back in 2012, so he had signing bonuses that were set to count against the 49ers' cap through 2016. The Browns do not absorb the signing bonus portion of Lee's contract. That will instead count as dead money toward San Francisco's cap space. If the trade had been before June 1st, the 49ers would carry $1 million in dead cap space this year. However, because it's a post-June 1st trade, the 49ers will have $500,000 in dead money this year and next year for Lee.

  • Spencer Lanning was set to make $585,000 in 2015 before the Browns cut him, so Cleveland is utilizing $1.465 million more in cap space this year with Lee.

  • If Cleveland's starts over-spending in the next few years, one could see a case where in 2018, Cleveland might shave $3.5 million off of their cap space by parting ways with Lee in favor of a younger punter. Because there are no bonuses on Lee's contract, this is a year-by-year type of deal. The Browns can treat his contract like a one-year deal through 2018 and keep or cut him without worrying about any dead money.

It sounds like Lee might have been seeking a trade, considering he saw the writing on the wall when the 49ers drafted a punter in the fifth round this year. Now that he's traded in June, he'll have time to spend an entire training camp with his new team.