5 things that went wrong for the Cleveland Browns in 2019
The Browns overspent the salary cap by more than $20 million dollars
After years of saving on the salary cap and accumulating the largest war chest in the NFL, in 2019, John Dorsey and the front office overspent the 2019 budget by roughly $23 million dollars, depending on how you calculate it.
The Browns had nearly $55 million in carryover salary cap in 2019 and have spent that down to $32 million. The only reason to overspend is if the general manager believes the team is poised for a Super Bowl. He should definitely not overspend on a team that is 6-10.
Much of the overspending is due to “dead money,” or money paid to players no longer with the team. The Browns have $31.6 million in dead money charged to 2019. It’s not quite that bad, however, because NFL trades cause bonus dollars to be moved up to the current fiscal year, so if you make a trade it pinches the current year but decreases the future years by the same amount.
So while the Browns have to apply charges to 2019 for traded players such as Jabrill Peppers ($2.8 million) and Kevin Zeitler ($7.2 million), the future year bonus money comes off the books. Nevertheless, a lot of money gets paid to players not with the team, as shown in the accompanying table. Salary estimates come from Spotrac.com.