Thursday is coming fast, Browns fans! We thought it would never get here and now it will be over with before we know it. You’ve been listening to all the experts and reading all the mocks. You probably feel like you’re ready for this thing to happen. Hold on. Have you looked at where the Browns stand on current contracts? Do you know who they can cut or where they have the most guaranteed money tied up? Well, it will undoubtedly affect the positions they look to fill in the draft and in what round they will choose to pick a player at that position.
The Browns have signed a ton of corners, right? Well, they only have about $17 M in guaranteed money at the position and that’s tied up in only two players. Denzel Ward is still an option. The same thing goes for the safety position. The Browns paid big signing bonuses to guys last year. Jabrill Peppers only has about $2 million left in guaranteed money and that’s it for the position.
How about defensive line? Myles Garrett’s fully-guaranteed contract only has $10 million remaining. Add the $4.5 M due to newly-signed Chris Smith and you’ve accounted for all the guaranteed money for the defensive tackles and defensive ends.
The linebacking corps has $14 M due to Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey and that’s it. Total it up and you won’t get a very big number for the entire defense. Translate that to mean that the Browns could draft at any position on the defense including defensive end and still be in good shape financially.
On the offensive side, the Browns have about $50 M guaranteed at wide receiver. Most of that is owed to Jarvis Landry. There’s $8.6 M due at tight end between David Njoku and Brandon Fells. Carlos Hyde has $5 M guaranteed in his contract and Tyrod will get his $16 M this season.
The offensive line’s guaranteed money is almost all at guard ($21 M between Joel Bitonio and Kevin Zeitler). Of course, Joe Thomas changed things when he decided to retire.
The Browns may be leery of taking a receiver in the first round due to the money invested in Jarvis Landry. They may also feel like they’re set at tight end. All other positions appear to be wide open as far as salary concerns go.
I realize that there are other worries with player salaries. The Browns need to extend Tyrod Taylor and possibly Duke Johnson. They will also have to pay other players as their rookie deals expire. I don’t believe any of that affects the draft.
The Browns are in a great position for this draft. They have the money available to make several first-round picks if so desired. As fans, we can sit back and enjoy this one. Trust in Dorsey. This draft is going to be epic!