The Cleveland Browns have reeled in their cap-spending under Andrew Berry
The Cleveland Browns finances were never in very bad shape, and after recent budget trimming moves by general manager Andrew Berry, the Browns’ budget is back on course to be approximately level-spent.
In the spring, this analyst believed that the Browns would be more aggressive in going after additional free agents such as defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, which would have put the Browns significantly above their Annual Salary Cap Allowance. But after renegotiating a few key contracts and possibly shopping tight end David Njoku, it looks like the Browns will be in excellent financial health this season and next.
Overall, this has been an exceptionally weird year in the NFL, which as you all know, is weird enough in its own right. Several teams were gearing up to overspend this year. Then along came this dang COVID-19 thing and pro sports in general and the NFL, in particular, slammed on the brakes and stopped spending money on free agents.
Consequently, there are still several well-known names out there, including three players who made the Pro Bowl last year — outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, guard Larry Warford, defensive end Everson Griffen. Clowney is the youngest at 27.
The Browns appear to have had a plan all along to build with young veteran free agents and for the most part, avoid problem players as well as veterans in their 30s. Although they did make exceptions for safety Andrew Sendejo, defensive end Adrian Clayborn and backup quarterback Case Keenum.
Spending was reined in by renegotiating contracts for offensive lineman Chris Hubbard and defensive end Olivier Vernon. NFL contracts often have unrealistically large out-years, the idea being to incentivize high-level performance, daring the team to cut the player. Getting those back in line was important. If they uncover a few rookie free agents they could even be under budget.
Overall they are in good shape financially, which is good because they need to get ready to extend Myles Garrett, Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb, and others — and those players, as well as their agents, expect big raises.