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Breakdown of WR Rashard Higgins’ contract with the Browns

A look at how much the team’s returning wide receiver will make with the Browns.

Indianapolis Colts v Cleveland Browns Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Last week, the Cleveland Browns re-signed veteran WR Rashard Higgins to a 1-year deal worth $2.377 million. He acknowledged that yes, he could have gone to another team for an extra million or so, but he truly likes being a part of the Browns and what is being built here.

I predicted a 2-year deal worth $4.5 million for Higgins; so on a per-year basis, I wasn’t too far off. It appears that Cleveland will actually incur a much smaller cap hit for Higgins, though, as I’ll explain below.

WR Rashard Higgins’ Contract, Cap Hits Per Year

Year Base Salary Signing Bonus Veteran Salary Total Cap Hit
Year Base Salary Signing Bonus Veteran Salary Total Cap Hit
2021 $2,240,000 $137,500 ($1,250,000) $1,127,500
  • Higgins’ contract is fully guaranteed, which consists of $2.24 million from his base salary and his $137,500 million signing bonus. Therefore, there’s no incentive for Cleveland to cut him at any point this season.
  • Previously, we talked about how LB Malcolm Smith qualified for the veteran salary benefit. As it turns out, Higgins qualifies for a special variation of that benefit called the “four-year qualifying contract.” It is used for players who have been on the team for four uninterrupted years, which applies to Higgins.
  • The way you calculate the “four-year qualifying contract” is that you take the minimum salary for that player. Looking at the table and knowing that Higgins has four years of services, the minimum salary is $990,000. Only that portion of Higgins’ base salary counts against the cap, plus his signing bonus. Then, the four-year qualifying contract allows the Browns to pay Higgins up to $1.25 million in additional base salary that does not count toward the cap.
  • Therefore, Higgins’ cap hit for 2021 is just $1.127 million — an even nice bargain, and a smart way for GM Andrew Berry to utilize the benefit, which can only be applied to one or two players per season. Since Cleveland has already used the full $1.25 million on Higgins, they cannot use it on any other player in 2021.