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Browns release JJ3 and Clowney, yes you read that right, with June 1st designations

NFL Free Agency and salary cap rules are strange to say the least

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” The line from Semisonic’s hit “Closing Time” is appropriate for many things including NFL free agency.

While the Cleveland Browns make the signings of Ethan Pocic, Sione Takitaki, AJ Green, Dalvin Tomlinson and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo official, they also have to move on from some players. We covered earlier Wednesday that QB Jacoby Brissett signed with the Washington Commanders and DT Taven Bryan joined the Indianapolis Colts.

The Browns then made two moves that we knew were coming official. The team released safety John Johnson III and DE Jadeveon Clowney with post-June 1st designations according to an official announcement.

The JJ3 release was known at the start of the NFL combine but now becomes official. The Clowney release is interesting wording and needs explaining.

When Cleveland signed Clowney to what was announced as a one-year deal, it was technically a five-year deal with four void years at the end. That allowed the Browns to spread his cap hit out over more seasons.

The post-June 1st designation also allows the cap hits for both players to be spread out over two seasons instead of taking it all in 2023. The team won’t acquire the extra cap space for the releases until June 1st but making the move now allows the players to seek other employment.

Clowney will cost $1.6 million against the salary cap this year and $4.8 million next year instead of $6.4 this year. Johnson will cost $3.75 million against the cap this year instead of $13.5 million with the additional cap hit coming next year.

While the extra cap space won’t be helpful in free agent spending now, it can be useful for veteran trades after the NFL draft or during training camp. If unused, rollover cap space helps increase the team’s ability to spend next year as well.