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Browns carry over $58.9 million in unused cap space from 2017 to 2018 league year

An explanation of what it means for the Browns and their cap space come free agency.

We’ve been waiting for the NFLPA to confirm carryover numbers via a statement like they’ve been doing, but nothing has come along yet. In order to continue with our usual salary cap posts, we decided to just use the data that appears in their public salary cap report and will take it as being official.

NFL Individual Club Spending Carryover

Every year, NFL clubs can elect to carry over unused cap dollars into the following league year. “Think of it like rollover minutes” is a phrase that the NFLPA has used to describe it in the past. The table below shows each team’s elected carryover amount, per the NFLPA salary cap report. These figures will be added to the salary cap amount that is determined at the start of the league year (projected to be about $178 million).

The carryover amount for the Browns is $58,912,960, which is the highest amount among the 32 teams. The San Francisco 49ers were very close ($56.0 million), but most of the rest of the league weren’t even close to that. League-wide, $339,994,887 was carried over, which comes to an average of $10,624,840 per team.

Despite the Browns being big spenders last offseason (signing Kevin Zeitler, J.C. Tretter, and Kenny Britt, while extending Joel Bitonio, Jamie Collins, and Christian Kirksey), they still reaped the benefits of a large carryover for at least one more season.

Please note that the carryover amount of $58.9 million for the Browns does not represent how much available cap space they’ll have to spend come March. That number will be over $110 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 2017 league year to the 2018 league year, that means Cleveland should have zero cap space in the 2017 league year. The 2018 league year does not start until March 14th.

What does that mean? If a player has any guaranteed money on their base salary for 2018, then the Browns would not be able to cut them because that dead cap would accelerate to the current league year (2017), where Cleveland has no cap space. It would not affect players like CB Jamar Taylor or LB Nate Orchard. 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 2018 base salary in Cleveland. Excluding last year’s rookie class, RG Kevin Zeitler, OLB Jamie Collins, OLB Christian Kirksey, WR Corey Coleman, and DE Emmanuel Ogbah are the only players with guarantees in their 2018 base salary, and none of those guys are going to be outright cut any time soon.