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Browns carry over $50.1 million in unused cap space from 2016 to 2017 league year

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After the regular season ended, Cleveland Browns Executive VP of Football Operations Sashi Brown told reporters that the club had carried over the full amount of their unused cap space to the next league year. Today, the NFLPA confirmed that statement, along with every team’s exact amount carried over:

The official amount for the Browns is $50,123,269, which is by far the highest amount among the 32 teams. The next closest were the Jaguars ($39.3 million), 49ers ($38.7 million), and Titans ($24.0 million).

Much of that unused cap space from a year ago came as a result of them not retaining their own free agents like C Alex Mack, RT Mitchell Schwartz, WR Travis Benjamin, and FS Tashaun Gipson.

Please note that the carryover amount of $50.1 million for the Browns does not represent how much available cap space they’ll have to spend. That number will be over $100 million, which we will break down in a separate post.

What About Roster Moves?

Because the Browns have already declared to rollover their cap space from the 2016 league year to the 2017 league year, that means Cleveland has zero cap space in the 2016 league year. The 2017 league year does not start until March 9th.

What does that mean? If a player has any guaranteed money on their base salary for 2017, then the Browns would not be able to cut them because that dead cap would accelerate to the current league year (2016), where Cleveland has no cap space. It would not affect players like Tramon Williams or Robert Griffin III. Although both players have guaranteed signing bonuses, those would count as dead money in the 2017 league year if the player(s) were cut. Neither Williams nor Griffin have any portion of their base salary guaranteed in 2017.

Not many players have guarantees on their 2017 base salary in Cleveland. Excluding last year’s rookie class, I see Jamar Taylor as the only player with a 2017 guarantee on his base salary. Joe Haden will be included in that mix too if he’s on the roster after February 8th.