Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars could be trade partners
The Cleveland Browns are still in solid position with their salary cap, and they could help the Jaguars move on from Nick Foles and his hefty salary.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have screwed up their salary cap to the tune of $34 million dollars, and they may be willing to give a lot to get their cap fixed. The Cleveland Browns have saved over $30 million of carryover salary cap dollars and could liberate some more by cutting some major salaries of veterans who no longer fit their needs.
The Browns would probably not blow a substantial fraction of their carryover dollars on 2020 player salaries– John Dorsey did that last year, and he is no longer the general manager– but a long-term investment in draft picks makes more sense.
The core problem here is that Jacksonville gave Nick Foles a whopping contract of $87.7 million dollars last year, and then almost immediately decided that they would rather have Gardner Minshew as their starting quarterback. Foles, it appears, is better suited to be a backup quarterback.
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For 2020, it would cost them an incredible $33.9 million dollars to cut him outright. If, on the other hand, they can convince another team to pick up his $15.1 million dollar salary, they can pare down their debt to a more manageable $18.8 million dollars.
Now, who the screw wants a backup quarterback for $15.1 million dollars? The answer is, nobody! The Jaguars would have to give up something good in order to convince a team to make a deal with them.
This same situation happened in 2017 and wound up with the Browns drafting Nick Chubb with the 2018 draft pick they received from Houston. The Browns gave up no players for Chubb and only a fourth round pick. All they did was agreed to pick up Brock Osweiler’s enormous $16 million salary in 2017, and voila! The Houston Texans handed over the third pick in the second round and Nick Chubb is a Cleveland Brown. Osweiler never played a down for the Browns, though they did give him a tryout in preseason.
The Browns do not need Nick Foles, because they have Baker Mayfield and they are not interested in auditioning other candidates for that position. Therefore, they might bring in a third-party that would want Foles to contend for a first string job.
Foles definitely has more “fair value” than Osweiler. Osweiler was probably perceived by the rest of the league as a $2 million dollar career backup, whereas Foles has done well as a starter and has a Super Bowl ring to prove it. The right team would probably pay Foles at least Teddy Bridgewater money, or one year at $7 or $8 million dollars. That might be a team like the Chicago Bears, who would consider a competition the first-string quarterback job, but a team that does not have tons of cap space to help Jacksonville fix its cap problem.
So, the way this could work is that the Browns would partially pay down Foles contract with their stash of carryover cap dollars; the Jaguars would send the Browns a draft pick; and the Bears would also contribute a pick. That is actually what the Browns tried to do with Osweiler, but were embarrassed to find out that no one wanted Osweiler even when his salary was completely paid for. They wound up cutting Osweiler, but they still had a very valuable draft pick.
If it sounds confusing, well, that’s why the Browns have guys from Harvard to work out the complexities of the deals. Just remember, this is how they got Chubb and they only traded cap space, no players.
It could work again, though the Browns cap space is tighter than it should have been had not John Dorsey overspent the cap allowance last year. However, according to Spotrac.com, they still will carry over $32.3 million. That’s enough to help Jacksonville out of their salary cap mess if they are willing to give the Browns a reasonable asset to develop. The Browns could wind up with a second round pick or the equivalent, however, just as they did with Brock Osweiler.