April 23, 2024

The cuts of John Johnson, III and Jadeveon Clowney are now official and the Browns salary cap can be updated. After the reworking of Za’Darius Smith’s contract, which was a two-year deal with three voidable years, his cap hit in 2023 is $3,032,000, in 2024 is $3,077,000 and in 2025 is $5,601,000. Prior to June 1, the Browns salary cap was $4.9 million. According to https://overthecap.com/, the Browns’ current cap figure is $13,864,088. This is based on the cap savings from Johnson and Clowney and the money allocated for the practice squad, ($3.4 to $4.3 million). Usually, during the course of an NFL season, a team would need to keep $8 to $10 million for additional players due to injuries. Browns GM Andrew Berry also loves to keep excess salary cap to roll over into next year.

How is this information relevant? The speculation of the Browns trying to sign DeAndre Hopkins makes it relevant. There are reports that Hopkins wants OBJ money. No team who is currently interested in him can do that right now. So, most teams will wait till his price comes down. Every day that goes by that he doesn’t sign elsewhere, the probability the Browns may sign him goes up. Andrew Berry always has his price and he seldom changes that price. This off-season has been about one thing, win now. Under Berry, the Browns’ final 53-man roster has had six wide receivers. Right now, it would be Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore, Marquise Goodwin, David Bell and Cedric Tillman. If the team added Hopkins, someone would have to go.

What would a Hopkins contract look like from the Browns? Probably a one-year deal with two years voidable to stretch out any prorated signing bonus and a ton of playing incentives. Personally, I don’t see it happening. Hopkins would be a luxury. Would he make the Browns a better team? Yes. He’s a physical receiver who is very dangerous in the red zone. He and Deshaun Watson have a special connection. The one reason I think it might happen is Andrew Berry has proven this off-season this team is “all-in.”

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