Salary Cap Issue Position No. 2 – Wide Receiver
The next biggest tie-up for the Cleveland Browns is wide receiver. Yes, there is more money spent at other positions, but when you factor in the overall importance of the group, it’s the next area where something has got to give.
Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman, David Bell, and Michael Woods who currently sit two through five on the depth chart all have rookie contracts and minimal cap hits for the 2024 season.
While it’s fantastic to have a small cap hit for that many players, the production from all of them has been lackluster as well. I don’t want to necessarily lump Moore into that group completely, but it still feels like his production was far less than anticipated when they gave up a second-round pick to get him last offseason.
In a perfect world, we will see two major moves this offseason at the position. One, Berry will restructure Amari Cooper who has a $23.7 million cap hit in 2024. This restructure would include a one- or two-year extension and more void years to keep the cap number low for 2024.
A move like this would likely guarantee Cooper in Cleveland for 2024 but would make him another cap casualty candidate moving forward if he didn’t continue with strong production like we have seen the last two seasons.
Even with keeping Cooper, the Browns should also be strong players in the wide receiver free-agency market. I don’t necessarily see them after a huge-name veteran like Mike Evans or Odell Beckham Jr., but guys like Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman, or Josh Reynolds would make a ton of sense.
These are guys who have proven they can produce at a high level but haven’t necessarily proven they are $10 million plus per year guys. Berry hasn’t wanted to spend at the position in years past, but it’s a make-or-break season with Watson in 2024, so expect him to have better weapons to help him at all costs.