Prior to the season opener, Browns GM Andrew Berry had been busy restructuring the contracts of left guard Joel Bitonio, defensive end Myles Garrett, tight end David Njoku and left tackle Jedrick Wills. According to https://overthecap.com/ the team now has $38.2 million in cap space, the most in the league. It started with Joel Bitonio’s restructuring which saved the team $7.8 million. Next was Myles Garrett who saved the team $12.9 million. David Njoku’s restructure saved the team $2.7 million and Jedrick Wills restructure saved the team $1.8 million. Basically, these new deals involve salary converted to signing bonuses, additional years and voidable years added to the deal to spread out the signing bonus. The purpose of these money moves is to enable the Browns to stay out of “cap hell” in 2024.
The projected NFL salary cap in 2024, again according to https://overthecap.com/ is $256 million. Prior to the restructures, the team would have been $25.5 million over the cap. If the Browns carried over the entire amount of the new deals, they would have about $13 million in cap space for 2024. However, the average NFL team likes to have about $6 to $8 million available during the season to pay for players due to injuries or players called up from the practice squad. If a player is called up, they are paid the league minimum for their position. So more restructures might be on the horizon.
The most logical future restructures could include wide receiver Amari Cooper, right guard Wyatt Teller, cornerback Denzel Ward and possibly running back Nick Chubb. Because of Cooper’s age (31) and Ward’s concussion history, restructures might not be wise. As for Nick Chubb, a restructure for him would mean a contract renewal. Usually running backs don’t receive a third deal due to the wear and tear on their bodies. I know some Browns fans would love for the team to swing one more blockbuster signing or trade, however, due to the future contracts on the roster, the Browns front office has to constantly work to provide salary to maintain a competitive roster in the future.