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Cleveland Browns: State of the Salary Cap

The Cleveland Browns current cap situation and looking ahead to 2023.

New York Jets v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry is a salary cap savant. As the Browns approach the trade deadline, he’s looking at potential acquisitions and players on the current roster and how they will (or won’t) end up impacting the Browns salary cap position.

We recently covered players who are set to hit free agency at the end of this season as well as those with contracts that basically make them untradeable. Now it is time to look at the cap as a whole in simplified terms.

Salary Cap Basics

What is the NFL salary cap?
Simply put, the salary cap is a limit on how much teams can spend on players.

How does the NFL calculate the salary cap?
The NFL calculates the salary cap for each season based on a percentage of the league’s income.

Which players count against the salary cap?
The top 51 contracts on each team are counted toward the salary cap.

Additional Salary Cap Factors

What is cap space “rollover” and how does it work?
NFL teams can “rollover” unused salary cap space to the following year.

What is dead cap?
Dead cap, or dead money, is the result of a player getting released or traded. The team releasing or trading the player will take on the remaining guaranteed money of the player’s contract.

Why is June 1st an important date?
June 1st is the date that separates the financials from one season to another. If a player is traded or released after this date, the NFL team moving on from the player is exempt from future base salaries but can split outstanding bonuses into two seasons. NFL teams can designate two players each season as “post-June 1st” in order to get the benefits of this rule, even if moving on from the player prior to that date.

2022 Cleveland Browns Salary Cap

The Cleveland Browns currently have $33.716 million in cap space according to which is the most of any team in the NFL. The team with the second most cap space is Carolina Panthers with $10.643 million.

Here are the five largest cap numbers currently on the roster:

  1. Myles Garrett: $12.961 million
  2. Jack Conklin: $11 million
  3. Deshaun Watson: $9.395 million
  4. John Johnson: $7.75 million
  5. Joel Bitonio: $6.658 million

2023 Cleveland Browns Salary Cap

Currently, the Browns are projected to have $9.398 million in cap space if they rollover their current 2022 cap space into 2023.

Here are the top 5 cap hits next year as of right now:

  1. Deshaun Watson: $54.993 million
  2. Myles Garrett: $29.176 million
  3. Amari Cooper: $23.776 million
  4. Wyatt Teller: $15.426 million
  5. Nick Chubb: $14.85 million

As the NFL trade deadline approaches, it is important to understand some of the basics of the salary cap. Yes, Cleveland has a lot of cap space this year but they need most of it to be able to rollover for next year.