The Future Looks Bright

This week, the NFL and the players union agreed to a salary cap ceiling of $208.2 million for 2022. This is a     $25.7 million (14%) increase over the 2021 salary cap. I know what you’re thinking, another boring salary cap article. Being a self-employed accountant, I find the NFL salary cap interesting. “Hi my name is Steve and I’m a salary cap nerd.” Browns GM Andrew Berry has put together a great off-season this year, but he’s also trying to build a winner in future years, so future salary cap numbers are important to consider.

Are you still with me? Just to make sure, here’s a link to the Baker Mayfield’s 2020 highlights, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGriDYj-FPg.

The $208.2 million cap puts the Browns with about $10.5 million in cap space next year according to Overthecap.com. That might sound like a lot, however, this puts the Browns near the bottom of the league in cap space for 2022. The good news is the $10.5 million doesn’t take into consideration any rollover the Browns may have leftover from 2020. Rollover, you know as the Steelers did in the first quarter against the Browns in the Wildcard game. The league allows unused salary from one year to roll over into the next year.

Currently, the Browns have $20.9 million in cap space for the 2021 season. They still have to sign their top three draft picks and keep enough money for emergencies (like injuries) during training camp and the season.

Are you still reading? Here’s a link to Nick Chubb’s 2020 highlights to make sure, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLYo-gwys-w&ab_channel=HighlightWorkshopHighlightWorkshop.

With the addition of the rollover from 2021, the Browns can also create cap room in 2022 by cutting, trading or restructuring players on the current roster. A prime example, amplified by ESPN, is WR Odell Beckham, Jr. Taking OBJ’s salary off the payroll would create an additional $15 million in cap space. Other players to consider are WR Jarvis Landry ( $13.6 million in cap savings), QB Case Keenum ($5.2 million in cap savings) and C J.C. Tretter ($6.6 million in cap savings). I’m not advocating for any of these players to be moved, I’m just pointing out there are ways to create more cap room in 2022.

Why is more cap room needed?

The Browns will need to extend three important players, RB Nick Chubb, OG Wyatt Teller and OG Joel Bitonio. Add to that list FB Andy Janovich, LS Charlie Hughlett, DE Takk McKinley and possibly DE Jadeveon Clowney. I didn’t mention the contract extensions for QB Baker Mayfield and CB Denzel Ward because their extensions wouldn’t count against the cap until 2023 and the cap is expected to really jump due to the new television contract signed by the NFL. I’m almost done, so here’s a link to Myles Garrett’s 2020 highlights to reward you for making it this far, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1UQ-3GtYrQ&ab_channel=SportsProductionsSportsProductions.

Roster turnover is inevitable in the NFL, but salary cap maintenance can be a struggle, just ask the Steelers, Saints and the Falcons. The salary cap is easy to manipulate but can be hard to maintain. With GM Andrew Berry in charge of the cap, the future of the Cleveland Browns looks bright.

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