The Cleveland Browns have been an aggressive team ever since GM Andrew Berry took over the front office. Some hits, some misses but always aggressive especially in spending money and being creative with the salary cap.
This weekend we got a report that the Browns restructured OL Joel Bitonio’s deal to free up almost $8 million. With huge contracts, monitoring what Berry has to spend is interesting. While fans and media talk about the salary cap as a huge thing, teams speak about it as an “accounting tool” more than anything. The cap can be manipulated in a variety of ways especially when you have an owner that is willing to pay money upfront in deals with signing bonuses.
Monday we have another report that owner Jimmy Haslam is dipping back into his account to restructure DE Myles Garrett’s deal:
The Browns have restructured the contract of DE Myles Garrett, creating $12.868M in 2023 cap space, per source.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 21, 2023
Cleveland now has close to $34M in cap space, easily the most in the NFL.
A restructured deal just helps Garrett get his money upfront in the way of a signing bonus and push salary cap hits off for future seasons. As noted, Cleveland now has a huge amount of cap space for this year but will increase their negative cap space for 2024 which stands above $50 million at this time.
If Berry doesn’t use a single dollar of the Browns cap space in 2023, that money will roll over to next year and cancel out much of the debt currently against the team. With the NFL salary cap continuing to go up, Cleveland should be able to stay under the cap over the next few seasons.
It is unlikely that this move, along with of Bitionio’s deal is related to a plan to make a big move in free agency or a trade but does give Berry some options as the season progresses up to the NFL trade deadline.