The Cleveland Browns, and most of the rest of the NFL, were quiet mostly on Tuesday after a very active Monday. Most believe that Aaron Rodgers decision is holding up a lot of other moves as players wait to see if they’ll join him and teams wait to figure out what money will be available and where.
A little bit of a lull in free agency is also normal. Teams get their top priorities as quickly as possible then regroup and look around to see what is left, what the market has created and what makes sense for them.
The Browns big move, which won’t become official until after 4 PM today, was the signing of DT Dalvin Tomlinson. Initial reports were that the contract was four years worth $57 million with $27.5 guaranteed. Pro Football Talk got all of the details and it looks like the initial report is accurate.
The details are where it gets interesting. While Tomlinson will average over $14 million a season, his salary cap numbers for the first two years combined will not cost even that much. GM Andrew Berry continues to create situations where the team is able to create salary cap now while paying higher costs later or eating some dead cap space.
According to Jack Duffin of The OBR, Tomlinson will account for just over $4 million on the salary cap in 2023 and $6.5 million in 2024. Those numbers jump to $19.5 for the final two years of the deal.
By the third year of the deal, Tomlinson will either be playing like a top defensive tackle still or Cleveland will look to get out of the deal while splitting up dead cap space of $17 million over two seasons. It gives Berry and the team options instead of costing the cap that money in years one and two of the contract.
A good deal for Tomlinson, a deal with some flexibility in the first two years for the team. A win-win situation that allows Berry to continue shopping with just the cap space saved from the Deshaun Watson restructure. If the Browns need to get more aggressive, they can restructure Myles Garrett, Joel Bitonio and/or Wyatt Teller, among others.