How Andrew Berry can create additional Cleveland Browns draft picks
Andrew Berry and the Cleveland Browns front office will try to find ways to use salary cap to obtain extra, picks like Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb in 2018.
If the Cleveland Browns are serious about building through the draft they have to actually have draft picks. There are ways that Andrew Berry, working with the Browns analytics group can bring draft picks to Cleveland.
Analytics is not a magic trick but simply represents a commitment to think carefully about value, using the tools of mathematics and statistics when possible to guide the decision-making process. The opposite of analytics is “winging it,” which occurs when you consume too much beer and chicken wings, and then listen to your gut.
Despite their splurge on high salaried players in 2019, they still have a large war chest of around $32 million in carryover dollars saved from previous years, as estimated by Spotrac and Over The Cap. What should be done with that money?
One possibility is to blow the money on veteran free agents and trade acquisitions, which is basically what they did last year. It’s also a major reason why John Dorsey was let go, despite his obvious ability to judge talent. That option makes sense for a team like the New Orleans Saints who need to win the Super Bowl now, before Drew Brees gets old(er). It’s not appropriate for a team that goes 6-10, and in fact, it’s embarrassing.
A second possibility is that they can simply save it for when hefty salaries are given to players like Joe Schobert (this year), Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and Baker Mayfield to keep them in Cleveland for a long time. That would not be a bad way to go.
Alternatively, they could invest in additional draft picks, which is the path they took up until last year. Rookie contracts are more affordable than veteran contracts, and by clearing the books of mid-range backup players with high salaries, they might still be able to afford the big guys. Based on what we know about Andrew Berry, this is the most likely path he will follow.
There are at least four methods by which extra salary cap dollars can be used to obtain additional draft picks, rather than free agents, essentially converting salary cap dollars to draft picks. These are outlined in the following five slides.