As we end the work week, at least for as many of you as possible, NFL free agency has started to crawl after a sprint earlier in the week. For the Cleveland Browns, seven signings have upgraded the roster in an impressive but realistic way. While fans may have yearned for bigger names, GM Andrew Berry has added some vital talent and retained a few of Cleveland’s own.
The additions of DT Dalvin Tomlinson and DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo should have the biggest impact on the defensive line but Berry also added DT Maurice Hurst and, reportedly, DT Trysten Hill to the line.
FS Juan Thornhill replaces John Johnson III with a better ability in coverage and to get sideline to sideline. CB AJ Green returns to replace Greedy Williams while LB Sione Takitaki will be back as well.
On the offensive side of the ball, center Ethan Pocic shores up the line and TE Jordan Akins reunites with his former Houston quarterback.
Prior to the start of free agency, the Browns salary cap was one of the biggest concerns for fans and media. Berry restructured QB Deshaun Watson’s contract to open up a big chunk of space. Cleveland will get more space, from the releases of JJ3 and Jadeveon Clowney, after June 1st.
2023 Salary Cap Hits for Free Agents Signed This Offseason
- Tomlinson - $4.28 million
- Thornhill - 2.26 mil
- Okoronkwo - 2.18 mil
- Pocic - 2.06 mil
- Green - 1.4 mil
- TakiTaki - 1.23 mil
We don’t have information yet on:
Based on performance, injury history and one-year deals, it is likely that Hurst and Hill won’t cost much more than minimum salaries, just over $1 million in salary cap. Akins deal has been reported to be a two-year contract maxing out at $5.2 million but the details of that structure matter greatly for the salary cap.
Without the latter three contract details, Cleveland still has over $11 million in cap space to work with. On June 2nd, they will add almost $11 million more to that number but can’t spend that money until then.
If they want to keep adding players beyond the current $11 million, they have the flexibility to restructure the contracts of Myles Garrett, Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller and Denzel Ward to add more space.
They will also want to keep space for any potential deadline deals and to roll over into the next season.
Berry has added or retained nine Browns to the roster including four starters and important depth. All while spending, approximately, $18 million in cap space for 2023 and still having more that can be spent now and into the future.
Not a bad start to the NFL offseason through NFL free agency.