3 Browns players who must be extended after cap hike

The Cleveland Browns need to extend these 3 players which would lead to some cap space for the offseason

Cleveland Browns, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Cleveland Browns, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah / Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
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On Friday, the Cleveland Browns found out they weren't in as bad of cap space as everyone expected. With the NFL announcing the salary cap increased to $255.4 million, they suddenly found themselves in much better shape. They're still not out of the woods but it feels much more manageable — and they'll also be able to make more moves should they find a way to restructure and extend a few key players.

Deshaun Watson is the first player they need to restructure and doing so could free up more than $33 million. They also need to look at extending some players who are entering the final year of their current contracts.

While that would add more money overall, they can spread out the deals over the next few years, thus giving them even more relief. With that being said, here are three players who need to be extended right away.

3. Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver

Entering the final year of his deal, Amari Cooper is second on the team with a cap hit of $23.77 million. Cooper, who was added in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys in 2022, put his name in the team's record books this season. Not only did he set a new single-game high of 265 yards receiving but he's also the first player in Browns history to record 1,000 yards receiving in back-to-back campaigns.

Cooper has suited up for 32 games in Cleveland and has 150 receptions for 2,410 yards with 14 touchdowns. What's more impressive is the fact that he's put up these numbers with a revolving door at quarterback over the past two years.

There are already those who think Cooper is overpaid and there's this laughable take that he's not a No. 1 wide receiver — despite the fact that he's been a No. 1 wide receiver in each of his nine seasons in the league. The only exception was 2021 when CeeDee Lamb took off for Dallas and Cooper had a "down year" with 865 yards and eight touchdowns on 68 receptions.

Cleveland needs to add more depth to the position along with Cooper and Elijah Moore but they shouldn't even think about letting their top wideout hit the open market in 2025. Extending him now for three years would help the bottom line while also keeping their offense strong.