5 worst Cleveland Browns cap moves of the 2022 offseason

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After previously describing the best moves the offseason, this article describes the five worst moves of the most controversial off-season since Art Modell traded Paul Warfield for Mike Phipps. 

This article gives Cleveland Browns fans what they really want — the five worst salary cap moves of the most controversial and explosive offseason in Browns’ history.

Love it or hate it, the Browns are pushing all their chips to the center of the table and are trying to win it all in 2022. General Manager Andrew Berry has structured a team with a number of major talents on first-year discounts this season, but whose salaries balloon in 2023 and beyond.

The group is led by Deshaun Watson, who only will only count $9.6 million dollars versus the 2022 salary cap, assuming his suspension stays at six games, but $55 million in 2023 and beyond. But so much has been written about Watson already that he won’t even be included in the top five list.

Besides the first-string quarterback, there were several very questionable moves, beginning with the Troy Hill deal, which took the edge off the Browns’ top draft pick, which could have been wide receiver John Metchie from Alabama. Instead, the Browns wound up losing a player and penalizing themselves $3.6 million in dead money this season.

Cleveland Browns 5 worst cap moves of the offseason

Sep 19, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) scores a touchdown over the defense of Cleveland Browns cornerback Troy Hill (23) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

5. Troy Hill Trade

The Troy Hill trade, in combination with the drafting of Martin Emerson, a third-team All-SEC cornerback from Mississippi State, was downright weird. This was the culmination of a chain reaction that began on draft day. Of course, they had already given up their first-round draft pick in the Deshaun Watson deal.

Then their second-round pick was traded for a third-round (68th overall), and two fourth-rounders (108th and 124th). Emerson was the 68th overall pick, and thus was the top choice for the entire draft.

Great. You never have too many corners, right?

But the Browns looked over the roster and figured with Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome, Greedy Williams, A.J. Green, and Troy Hill, they already had five corners, and six is tough to justify. So the solution was to trade Hill back to his former team, the Los Angeles Rams for a 2023 fifth-round pick. But they didn’t just trade him, they are also being charged $3.6 million of his contract in the form of dead money so that he can play for the Rams.

The overall deal looks like this:

Browns Get
3rd Round Pick (CB Martin Emerson)
4th Round Pick (DT Perrion Winfrey)
4th Round (K Cade York)
2023 Fifth Round -$3.6 M cap dead money
Texans Get
2nd Round pick (WR John Metchie)
Rams Get
Troy Hill
+$3.6 million cap adjustment

At the beginning of the process, the Browns could have had John Metchie, a brilliant receiver (Metchie has recently been diagnosed with leukemia, so your well-wishes and prayers are invited. This of course goes beyond football at this point). They also had Troy Hill on the roster.

If you look at just the Hill deal by itself, it is nothing more than Odell Lite. The Browns were charged $4.25 million for OBJ to play for the Rams and win a Super Bowl for them. Now they incur a comparable charge on behalf of Hill.

So why were the Browns so anxious to get rid of Hill? Pro Football Focus ranks him as below average overall. At age 31, he would seem to be a slot corner or extra defensive back rather than an every-down corner. But he’s not an enemy of the state or a terrorist. Come on.

However, he was given an escalating contract that made him a bargain in his first year and ensured he would be overpaid in his second year. Trading him only means that Dawg Pound Daily won’t complain about him on a weekly basis, but the scar is still there in the form of dead money.

Cleveland didn’t save any money against the cap and didn’t really upgrade the secondary unless Emerson turns out to be a pleasant surprise. He projects to be a below-average slot corner, at least in his first year. He may not be an upgrade until a year or two down the road.

The Browns began the draft with a second-round draft pick, but they wound up being left with a bill for $3.6 million dollars, and they traded a veteran corner. They ended up possibly not even upgrading the slot corner position for 2022 because they lost a veteran corner in the process.

When the smoke cleared, the highest assets remaining were two fourth-round picks, John Metchie was a Texan, and the Browns were charged $3.6 million so that a starting corner could play for the Rams. Does this make any sense to anyone? If so, please explain in the comments below why I have analyzed the situation unfairly.

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