Browns should restructure Myles Garrett contract or look to trade him

Browns, Myles Garrett. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
Browns, Myles Garrett. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) /
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The Browns need to either restructure the contract of Myles Garrett to get under the 2023 salary cap or if they cannot they may not be able to avoid trading him.

The point of this article is not to advocate a trade for superstar Myles Garrett, but rather to suggest that they need to restructure his deal to ease the salary cap mess they have created for 2023. If they can’t reduce his $29.2 salary cap charge in 2023, it will be hard to keep him in Cleveland.

Plus, if there is one player who needs to be kept happy, it’s Garrett. He, not Deshaun Watson, is the true superstar in Cleveland and deserves to be rewarded at the top of his profession.

Cleveland Browns, Myles Garrett
Cleveland Browns, Myles Garrett. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

What restructuring would do

The restructuring would clear up to $20 million or so in 2023 space by paying more bonus money upfront while adding, say, another year to his contract and another $50 million or so in cap charges spread out over the balance of his deal.

Thus, it would give general manager Andrew Berry some breathing room for 2023 but tighten things up through 2027. However, if Garrett and his agent, Nicole Lynne, are unwilling to cooperate, the Browns may have little choice but to consider trading him to a team more to his liking.

Cleveland is motivated to restructure because of front office bungling, which has resulted in an overspent 2023 budget. Of the different options to get out of the jam, Garrett is the best option. The Browns would like to keep him for at least one more year and will bend over backward to keep him.

How messed up is 2023? To make a long story short, it is a major mess, but fixable. The Browns’ spending limit is expected to be about $256 million, including a $225 million league cap allowance, plus a $31 million surplus from this season, which carries over. Nice.

However, Andrew Berry has currently booked over $276.7 million worth of expenses for next season, and $253.8 million of it is either guaranteed or a mandatory expenditure that they cannot get out of. The gory details are contained on page two. It’s indeed fixable, but several contracts need to be reworked, including Garrett’s — or a few expensive contracts need to be traded.

However, the Browns cannot simply cut most of these contracts, because they are no-cut deals, and the Browns would still have to pay. They have to work out trades in order to benefit.

As far as we on the outside know, the relationship between the Garrett camp and the Browns ownership and front office is built upon mutual respect and trust. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Garrett has total confidence in their football acumen and leadership ability insofar as assembling a championship team is concerned.

Garrett has several times expressed his frustration with what he believes is a lack of proper game planning on defense. It’s a legitimate concern from an intelligent player who forms his own opinions. Come to think of it, if you have read a few articles from Dawg Pound Daily, and especially the fan comments, there are others that share a negative view about the team’s direction.

Thus, if Garrett has lost faith in the ability of the organization to deliver a Super Bowl, he might decide that he would rather play someplace else. If he and Cook refuse to restructure, his $29.2 million cap hit for 2023, combined with Watson’s even more burdensome $55 million cap hit, will put enormous pressure on the front office to consider a trade.

On paper, it might make more sense to extend Watson. Just $60 million in 2027, and you cut the cap charge by $40 million in 2023, boom — problem solved! But do they really want to buy into the quarterback even more at this point?

Moreover, Garrett has earned the right to have a say in where he plays. Unfortunately, Garrett is irreplaceable. He truly is a generational talent, the likes of whom we have never seen in Cleveland since the days of Bill Willis. It would be a net loss for a team supposed to be taking one or two more desperate shots at the Super Bowl before undergoing another rebuild cycle.

The Browns would have to obtain multiple number-one draft picks and multiple starters to part with Garrett. The Browns would probably prefer to trade him outside the AFC North to a team with some decent cap space. The New England Patriots might be an option, or the Seattle Seahawks or Atlanta Falcons.