Fixing the Cleveland Browns: Build through the draft or trade for right now?
Plan A: The Future is NOW! SPEND!
The Browns still have over $30 million dollars in carryover salary cap dollars, meaning that they are allowed to overspend their cap allowance by up to that amount or save it for future years.
They have guys named Garrett and Mayfield that they want to extend and could use those carryorver dollars when the time comes.
However, they are allowed to blow it all in 2020 if they want to, try for one year of blazing glory and then dismantle the team in 2021 or 2022.
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Conventional strategy is that teams should not blow that money unless they are serious about making a Super Bowl run that year. The payroll increased temporarily but it cannot be sustained. They have to cut back once the carryover dollars are exhausted.
If you spend $25 million over the annual salary allowance, and come away with only a participation trophy, that is a disaster. That is where the Browns find themselves in 2019. But they can do it again in 2021 and blow the rest of the inheritance that they received from the Sashi Brown era. They have 2020 commitments of $170 million against an estimated annual cap allowance of $200 million, and another $30 million dollars of saved cap dollars, for a total war chest of about $60 million dollars.
That $60 million would be used to sign 2020 draft picks (assuming they do not trade them away), plus the Browns have a number of players scheduled to walk including Joe Schobert, Damarious Randall, Hollywood Higgins, Joel Bitonio, Christian Kirksey, Greg Robinson, Eric Murray and others. The Browns could re-sign these players or, alternatively, sign replacements from the free agent pool. But in this plan, we are willing accept huge losses in 2021, in exchange for having it good in 2020.
In addition, another OBJ-type deal could be sought, in which the Browns would be willing to assume a large salary, plus trade away a first round draft pick or two. The hope would be to obtain an All-Pro player, perhaps someone like Trent Williams who currently belongs to Dan Snyder and Washington. That might re-energize the fan base, and who knows what it might lead to?
Hopefully it leads to a Super Bowl in 2020, because the team will have to come back to earth in 2021 and cut some $30 million from the payroll, at the same time they have to deal with the agents for Mles Garrett and Mayfield. Garrett is going to ask for a deal like Khalil Mack’s and Mayfield is going to want Drew Brees money.
If you want to dance, you have to pay the piper, sooner or later. SO how good do you think this team will actually be in 2021, and do you want to trade away the future to have the best team possible for 2020?