How bad is the Browns salary cap situation heading into 2024?

Where do the Browns rank in terms of salary cap space?
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

We've all heard the comments regarding the Cleveland Browns salary cap situation. Typically, it's described as "cap hell" since they have so many highly paid players — although the primary traget of criticism is quarterback Deshaun Watson.

His fully guaranteed $230 million contract has been a topic of debate from the moment it was signed. Naturally, the billionaire owners hated the deal, so they championed the efforts to disparage a player getting paid, but Watson hasn't done much to prove he deserved the deal. That means the criticism won't die out anytime soon.

But are the Browns really in a tough spot? While Watson has a massive hit of more than $63.77 million this season alone, the franchise is actually in decent shape. According to Over The Cap, Cleveland is 18th in available cap space at just over $13.58 million, putting the franchise near the middle of the pack.

NFL Cap space available by team: Browns near the middle

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $390,599
Seattle Seahawks: $1.5 million
Buffalo Bills: $2.26 million
Miami Dolphins: $2.91 million
Dallas Cowboys: $5.42 million
New York Giants: $5.44 million
Atlanta Falcons: $5.7 million
Baltimore Ravens: $5.72 million
San Francisco 49ers: 6.39 million
Carolina Panthers: $8.08 million
New Orleans Saints: $8.10 million
New York Jets: $9.19 million
Denver Broncos: $11.15 million
Los Angeles Rams: $11.30 million
Cleveland Browns: $13.58 million
Kansas City Chiefs: $16.12 million
Minnesota Vikings: $16.67 million
Pittsburgh Steelers: $18.34 million
Green Bay Packers: $21.69 million
Las Vegas Raiders: $21.73 million
Chicago Bears: $22.79 million
Cincinnati Bengals: $23.36 million
Houston Texans: $23.67 million
Detroit Lions: $26 million
Philadelphia Eagles: $27.24 million
Indianapolis Colts: $28.41 million
Arizona Cardinals: $ 29.32 million
Los Angeles Chargers: $30.32 million
Tennessee Titans: $30.82 million
Jacksonville Jaguars: $34.23 million
Washington Commanders: $43.43 million
New England Patriots: $50.63 million

Browns likely to roll over extra money

Looking ahead to 2025, the Browns aren't in as good of shape. With a projected cap of $260 million, they're sitting at $31 million in the red. Of course, the cap should increase over that number but the Browns will have some work to do in order to round out their roster in 2025.

The good news is that they can not only roll over any money left over from this season but they're likely to extend a few players as well, which will change the numbers both in 2024 and 2025.

One thing general manager Andrew Berry has been able to do is move money down the road, thanks to Jimmy Haslam's willingness to spend. As long as he continues to write huge bonus checks, the GM can keep spreading the cap hit out for years to come. Eventually, they might have to eat that but as long as they feel they can chase a title, they'll be able to build their roster.

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