July 31, 2014

Report: Browns could have $20 million to spend in free agency

According to the Sun Sentinel, the Cleveland Browns have an estimated $103 million in salaries for next season, putting them significantly below the projected salary cap of between $121 and $125 million.

As the piece points out, teams can trim salary by waiving players or restructuring deals. The Browns have several free agents of their own to try and work out agreements with as well, including MLB D’Qwell Jackson and RB Peyton Hillis. Not to mention everyone’s favorite kicker, Phil Dawson.

The Cincinnati Bengals top the list of available cap space with an estimated $40 million to spend. Much of that should go to keeping several of their own players, however they will have cash to play with in the FA market. The Steelers will have the most fat to trim, as they are projected to be over the cap by around $25 million.

[Related: NFL Free Agents: The Linebackers]

  • Tim K.

    The Steelers being so far above the cap is a good sign if you’re in favor of the Browns going after Mike Wallace, or if you’re in favor of Wallace leaving Pittsburgh in general.

  • http://www.redright88.com/ TitusPullo94

    Look at all that cap space the Redskins have: that’s Matt Flynn money right there!

    I read somewhere this morning (can’t find the link now) that a team’s cap number is calculated using the salaries of the top 51 players on the roster (plus some other accounting tricks); wonder of the Sun Sentinel article used that to determine the cap space for each team?

    In any event, the Browns are in good position to spend some cash if they choose to do so.

  • Anonymous

    I wish this made me feel better with the prospects the Browns will sign some guys but for some reason it doesn’t.  I sure hope I’m wrong because I’m a firm believer that you can improved your team much faster by actually participating in free agency.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    But they don’t have $5.8M to spend on concrete for their stadium?

    amirite?

  • Nobody1231234

    Wow, the steelers are projected to be $20 million over the cap? They’ll be making some big cuts this year…

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ WFNYRick

    By the way, the Steelers are projected over the cap just about every year. They end up making cuts and keeping the guys they want. Don’t get your hopes too high about Wallace.

  • Jeff

    The Browns should do exactly the same in free agency as they have been doing over the past two seasons with H and H at the helm–very little.  There strategy is just like Novocain, give it enough time and it works. When you go out and spend money in free agency you do nothing but overspend for older players that their original teams didn’t want to re-sign.  This is why teams like Washington or New York (Jets) with this strategy never pan out.

    The best teams don’t do this.  They spend their money re-signing their own draft picks while occasionally, key word occasionally, making a big acquisition to help put them over the top.  At the moment, the Browns aren’t one or even two impact players away from becoming contenders so they should just use the money to sign their own players (Jackson, Hillis, etc.) and keep drafting well.This strategy isn’t sexy and it won’t please impatient Browns fans, but it is a strategy that is implemented by every perennial contender in the league.  Why?  Because it’s the most consistent and time proven way to build a championship team.  One only has to look at the Texans, Packers, Steelers, Ravens,Giants and almost every other playoff team to see how well the strategy works.

  • Dcarrol3

    Hope they at least drive up the price and make it uncomfortable for the Steelers. I think it was said in a post yesterday, but even if we try to drive up the price and get stuck with Wallace, he’s still a playmaking receiver we desperately need and we hurt a division rival. Not saying we need to get Wallace, but I hope we are a player on him.

  • Anonymous

    Looking at the list it scares me for Cleveland. We will once again not be able to sign anyone that we really want over these teams in our cap grouping. The only player I see us having a chance to sign is desean jackson because of heckert’s connection with him. Cleveland needs to stick with the formula and build through the draft. We will make some boring moves because it is what we should do. This is why Cleveland has to draft some quarterbacks, receivers, defensive ends, and running backs early and we can’t miss on them. We need play makers. If we can’t get rg3 trade down get more picks in the 20′s and 30′s and pick play makers. Get one good right side linemen(RT) and try to sign desean jackson if we get rg3. Build through the draft unless we can get a deal on desean because heckert picked him in draft.

  • Mansoor Khan

    But we also have two first round draft picks we’re gonna sign. So… Maybe more like 10 mil? 

  • Anonymous

    Um how many draft picks do you think they have?  Quarterbacks, wide receivers, defensive ends, running backs…I agree that you build your core through the draft but at the same time you don’t continously discount free agency like the Browns do.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting they go out and overspend just to do so I’m saying go out and if needed overpay for 1 or 2 guys.  Something like they did when they signed Steinbach away from the Bengals.  I think we can all agree that he and a drafted Joe Thomas worked out pretty well.  This is how I see free agency working in concert with the draft. 

    Please…no RG3…

  • http://twitter.com/lilOUmikey Michael Tricarichi

    Rick, I think you’re forgetting about the cap rollover which was put into the new CBA. Andrew Brandt covers it here: 
    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Closing-the-books-on-2011.html . I’m pretty sure that I saw the Browns are under about $9m for the 2011 season, giving us an additional $9m added to our cap number, give us a total of $29m of available cap room. 

  • Anonymous

    Cleveland Browns have 9 total draft picks. This is plenty of picks for what I suggested. And I didn’t dismiss the importance of free agency. The player that I think that Cleveland realistically has a chance to get is desean jackson who would make a huge impact on this team. You can’t just spend money to spend money. Dan Snyder of Washington throws money at the biggest name and how has that worked out for him. There are no rules on how to do it but the one thing that you have to do is be correct when you do something. Desean Jackson stretches the field and is a play maker without question. We need this badly. You team this up with some play makers and you still have 6 picks to pick for defensive ends, cornerbacks and offensive linemen prospects. I made a point to someone in an earlier story that when cleveland does make a splash it is normally with offensive linemen which is great . I would not mind at all if they signed a great player on the right side of o-line. I just want Cleveland to go after some play makers on offense. I am so sick of hearing how we never put weapons around for our qb to give him a chance. Just get a ton of draft picks between 18-40 and draft play makers.

  • http://twitter.com/csobol chris sobolewski

    I can’t imagine we’re going to resign Phil Dawsome. Between not working with him in free agency, then after he had relocated his family using the franchise tag on him, if I were him I’d be so far out the door.

    And honestly, he deserves it, he’s been through football hell with Cleveland since 99.

  • architrance

     “the one thing that you have to do is be correct when you do something.”

    Oh! So simple…

  • Ike

    Ditto, ditto, ditto…

  • Tron

    My question is: Who the hell on the Browns is making that much money to total out to more than the Falcons, Niners, Bears, and Pats?! Because our team is not even half way as good as theirs, and yet ours costs more? We’re not paying Joe Thomas 80 million a year are we?

  • Anonymous

    Free Phil!!!

  • Ike

    You make a great point.  My only thing is if you’re Heckert/Holmgren, don’t try and tell me this rebuild will take 5 years because you refuse to sign any FAs. I’m not saying this team needs to sign 15 FAs, not at all.  But this is not the NFL of the 1980s and 1990s; it doesn’t/shouldn’t take 5 seasons to take a team from 4-12 to the playoffs.  Hell, the Browns were back in the league at 1-15 in 1999 and in the playoffs by 2002.  Wasn’t sustainable, but I’m just sayin.

    If Colt McCoy is the starting QB next season, it’ll be because we couldn’t truly evaluate him last season because he didn’t have enough weapons, because we didn’t GIVE  him enough weapons.  As a front office, you’ve just spent a year in neutral (ie: no closer to finding a franchise QB) at the most important position because you didn’t want to bring in veteran WRs.  That’s when I have a problem with that approach.

    And for your information, teams like the Texans have brought in multiple FAs over the years to get them over the top (Matt Schaub, Connor Barwin, Johnathan Joeseph, Shaun Cody, Danieal Manning).  HOU drafted well as a franchisse, but they also brought in great FA signings to spur the process along.

    Bottom line is that the Browns are in dire need of talent.  Don’t completely cut off one avenue of acquiring talent and tell your fan base to be patient.

  • http://twitter.com/lilOUmikey Michael Tricarichi

    Joe Thomas is over $10m, Haden is about $10m, Steinbach is $6m, Seneca is 3.5m, Gocong will be about $6m, Rubin $9m, Fujita is $4-5m that’s about $50m already for 7 of 53 players, it adds up. 

  • Anonymous

    Who cares if he leaves. He is a kicker they aren’t even real players. If phil dawson is not happy being one of 32 people in the world that kick a ball for a living then good riddance. Who cares if he goes somewhere and wins a superbowl. He is a kicker. I could care less if he stays or goes. Sign someone in the parking lot an hour before kickoff for all I care. You take dawson and I will sign a free agent wide receiver or right tackle with this money. Phil Dawson is a great kicker I get it but anybody who sticks up for Dawson when I post this why don’t you move to england or australia to watch soccer or rugby.

  • Anonymous

     no that is crazy. we pay him 68 million a year and a gift card to netflix.

  • Anonymous

    it is easy if you have a good scout team together. Cleveland has set the bar so low from a talent level production because of randy lerners ability to run this franchise. There is a laundry list of players that all of us know we should of taken but we always pick a player out of necessity and not ability and talent. We pass on play makers to fill a spot that we could get the same production through free agency. Every year we pass on home run play makers because tim couch and braylon were bad and did not work out for us. Get over it. Cleveland needs talent at the skill level positions because we will never be able to attract these type players until we put something together.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_I6423N7UCT3SVURBC55JGXFYAU Bobby

    Hes an RFA, so all the steelers have to do is give him a 1st round tender (or even higher) and it scares everyone else away. Would you want to give Wallace big time money to make him switch within the conference (assuming he would do that to begin with) AND still be on the hook to have to give pittspuke a 1st round pick? no thanks.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_I6423N7UCT3SVURBC55JGXFYAU Bobby

    Schaub was a trade, not an FA. I think theres a big difference there. And of the others I would really only consider Jonathon Joseph as a premier FA- especially for his position. The other three are not top 20 guys at their position. The way people are talking on here they want to go get the best guys and every position in FA, and that is rarely if ever successful.

    As a side, I do think free agency should be used to help fill holes on a contending team. We are not a contending team. To hope to find long term solutions in FA, I think, has been shown to be ineffective.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    Unbelievable. He’s been the team’s best and most consistent player since 1999, like it or not. You may not appreciate the talent it takes to be a kicker in the NFL (particularly playing on the lakefront), but those of us who do know that Dawson is a guy you want on your team. I’d hate to see him leave, but he deserves a chance to win and I would wish him well if he does. Your dismissive attitude strikes me as foolish.

  • Anonymous

    I agree B-Bo.  He has been a huge part of the team.  He has been the reason that some of the games we are in have been close, and if we were to make a playoff run, I couldn’t pick a kicker in the NFL I would rather have.  That being said, if you love something let it go.  As long as he does not go to the Stoolers, Ravens, or Patriots, I am fine with him trying to get on a winner to finish his career.

  • Eric

    Ok so tell me then how many FA’s have the Steeler’s signed in this last decade that they have been in contention? That’s right, few, if that. Good teams build their future through the draft period. They also don’t change front office’s and QB’s like we change our underwear. Everyone is so stuck on the we have no talent bus, our real problem has been having no consistency within the organization. Numerous head coaches and front office’s is what sank this team. Since 1999 we have had 0 consistent direction, no real credibility football people in our organization running it. Everybody just needs to sit back let let H&H do their thing. We have been terrible for years, what is a few more. Honestly we actually have light at the end of the tunnel right now. Our defense is looking to be pretty good, yes we need offense but that will take some time. We our very young with some good talent. With a couple more years and hopefully some more good young talent additions when this all comes together it is going to be good times for the browns. Sorry I don’t want a one year wonder.    

  • Ike

    Sorry, I don’t wanna wait 5 years to build our offense 1 piece at a time, when we could use FAs to spur the process along.  I’m not claiming we should sign a million FAs.  But we do need some.

  • Ike

    Sorry, I don’t wanna wait 5 years to build our offense 1 piece at a time, when we could use FAs to spur the process along.  I’m not claiming we should sign a million FAs.  But we do need some.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drstovicek Donald R. Stovicek

    As long as the Browns keep filling the stadium for all of their home games, they have no incentive to improve the team whether it is through free agency or the draft. Watch for them to trade down their first round draft choice for later selections. That way they won’t have to pay the salary of a high-profile draft choice. They won’t sign any free agents because they need more than a couple to make a significant difference. So why spend the extra money?

  • Jeff

    I’ll agree and disagree with you at the same time.  Yes, you can find examples of teams making quick turnarounds, and there are exceptions to every rule (ie-New Orleans).  However, for the most part, I believe it does take several years (usually 4-5) to build a perennial contender and change the culture of the franchise.

    Let’s look at where the Houston Texans have come from in the past 5 years.  In 2005, they went 2-14, they fired Dom Capers and hired Gary Kubiak for the 2006 season.  Starting in 2006 their record was 6-10, 8-8, 8-8, 9-7, and 10-6 in 2011.  I would argue, that apart from Matt Shaub’s injury this year the Texans had as good of a chance as any team in the league to win the Superbowl. 

    If that’s not evidence enough, look at their drafts beginning in 2006, which coincidentally was the same year Rick Smith was hired as the GM.  In 2006, the Texans drafted, among others, Mario Williams, Demarco Ryans, and Owen Daniels.  Since that time, they have drafted, or singed as unrestricted FA’s players such as Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin, Ben Tate, Arian Foster, JJ Watt.  In fact, a look at their current depth chart reveals that 7 of their 11 starters on offense were Houston’s own draft picks, and 7 of their 11 defensive starters were also Houston’s picks. This means that 14 of 22 starters were drafter by the Texans.

    The only player that started for the Texans that would qualify as the type of FA player that most fans are clamoring for is Jonathan Joseph.  

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that you’ll find almost exactly the same thing as you look at rosters like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Green Bay, San Francisco, and New York.  Each are teams and organizations that I hope the Browns can emulate.

    The problem with building through free agency (in most cases) is that by the time you are ready to compete for a championship most of the players you brought in are old, expensive, and won’t contribute.  When the Browns are ready to compete for a championship, they will spend money on a marquee free agent or two–mark my words.  But they won’t overspend and reach on these players now because they realistically know they just aren’t there yet.

  • Jeff

    With the new CBA draft picks don’t kill your cap like they used to.  If they trade down, it won’t be because they want to save cash.  It will be because they see greater value trading down and picking up extra picks (ie-New England).  

    I think to say that this organization has no incentive to win is ridiculous.  Why do we keep hiring and firing coaches and GM’s if they just care about filling up the stadium?

  • Golfinron66

     The stadium belongs to the city of Cleveland.  They lease it to the Browns.  They are responsible to fix the concrete.

  • FrankandHanford#1Fan

    I think it’s important to remember a few things when talking about rebuilding the Browns:

    1) TRUTH: We all know that we really should have been 7-9 with the a) last second missed field goal, b) botched snap, and c) the Bungals game where the DEF was still huddled up before we realized they scored a TD.  7-9 would have been considered a successful year (to some extent) especially in the AFC North.  So let’s not go too crazy about how bad this team is.  We were competitive in almost every game.2) DEFENSE: For most of the season, we were in the top 5 in total defense.  If we bring in a monster pass rusher (I’m dreaming when I say Mario Williams, but just for fun…) like Mario Williams, and TJ Ward is back and healthy… all the sudden this DEF should be FEARED!!!  Sheard and Taylor will only be better in their 2nd year… and the secondary is already very solid, when healthy.3) OFFENSE: Hopefully we resign Hillis, but regardless of who’s running the ball, we have to have weapons on offense that stops people from putting 9 guys in the box.  If we can get Wallace, great.  Blackmon from OK St, great.  Top priority in my opinion, has got to be a top WR.  Another priority is a speedster 3rd down running back.  We were terrible at those 3rd and 8′s last year.  A Darren Sproles, Eric Metcalf type player would be nice to bail out Colt on some of those downs.4) COACHING: Coaching has got to improve.  Shurmer made so many bad calls last year it was disgusting.  I com’mon Pat!  You’ve been coaching 20 years in one form or another, can you really not manage the clock, or know when to call time outs, or know not to run the ball from the 5 against BAL with 12 seconds left and no time outs?  Coaching wins game, and it loses games.  He cost us a couple wins last year, not including the 3 mentioned above.

    These are my humble opinions.  What do you guys think?

  • Anonymous

    My goal on this post was to let me know which people would actually stick up for a kicker. Now I know to disregard any comment you make in the future. If you can’t understand how pathetic your franchise is when you are saying your comments I don’t know what to say. Everyone knows that a kicker is important but if you can’t understand how “foolish” it is to spend this much money on a kicker when we need everything then I don’t know what to say. In my original comment I say Phil Dawson is a great kicker but you don’t think our money would be better spent signing a free agent then to sign your kicker for big money.(And personally there is no kicker worth a lot of money ever unless he is kicking 60 yarders with no problem and there has never been one yet)

  • Dan

    Actually, the Texans traded for Schaub and drafted Barwin…

  • Anonymous

    The draft picks are not going to cost us $10 mil a piece! LOL

  • Anonymous

    The Browns will have around 30 mil to spend minus our FA’s Jackson and maybe Hillis minus our draft picks should still give at least 15 mil to spend on FA’s. I would like to add DeSean Jackson, JerMichael Finley, Mario Williams and DeMetrius Bell – OT to our team. The Browns add salary with middle aged players not old ones. And all four are very good players!  You have to remember that by adding an OT you will be letting Phalos – OT go and saving his what $6 millon? By signing Finley you let Watson go or trade him and save a couple mil there, and when or if you sign Mario Williams they could let Fijita go along with his 4.5 mil or whatever it is. They would not use all of the 15 million by my calculations, so go bring us the talent browns front office!!!!! The rest they can add by draft. If not RG3, then trade down for extra picks and target WR, RB, OG, CB and either DE or OLB depending on where Williams would play. Yes, they are not close yet, but if they keep building through the draft and through FA together, then they will get to where they want to be a little quicker!!!!! I’m just saying!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I agree – you are right my friend!!!

  • Anonymous

    Well, if they don’t sign an impact player or two then that is just one or two more impact players that they won’t have for another year and they will never reach the contender area that we all want them too. You keep signing the players you need to beef up your team and add in the draft picks for the other areas of need and before you know it the team is contending. Do not do nothing when something needs to be done – do you agree???   Here is my thinking: The Browns will have around 30 mil to spend minus our FA’s Jackson and maybe Hillis minus our draft picks should still give at least 15 mil to spend on FA’s. I would like to add DeSean Jackson, JerMichael Finley, Mario Williams and DeMetrius Bell – OT to our team. The Browns add salary with middle aged players not old ones. And all four are very good players!  You have to remember that by adding an OT you will be letting Phalos – OT go and saving his what $6 millon? By signing Finley you let Watson go or trade him and save a couple mil there, and when or if you sign Mario Williams they could let Fijita go along with his 4.5 mil or whatever it is. They would not use all of the 15 million by my calculations, so go bring us the talent browns front office!!!!! The rest they can add by draft. If not RG3, then trade down for extra picks and target WR, RB, OG, CB and either DE or OLB depending on where Williams would play. Yes, they are not close yet, but if they keep building through the draft and through FA together, then they will get to where they want to be a little quicker!!!!! I’m just saying!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I love lamichael james(oregon) and chris rainey(florida) in the 3rd or 4th round for that darren sproiles type back. We need one of these type players  I would love to get a pass rusher but there is no way with the teams that are going to be fighting for mario that we will be able to get him. Even though I know we are building through the draft I hope we sign someone through free agency to alleviate the pressure of having to take a player to fill a spot and hopefully we can have some flexibility in the draft to take a play maker type player. Shurmur has no business being the head coach and in my own opinion holmgren put him there so he could kind of control him. It’s perfect for holmgren because if they fail he can dump it on shurmur and if they do well holmgren will take all the credit.(He will take credit in his spare time between his doughnut eating sessions) Come down and coach holmgren and earn some of that money that we gave to lerner to give to you.

  • BRODHEADTROUT

    SPEND SOME MONEY ON CHEERLEDERSGIVE US SOMETHING TO CHEER ABOUT

  • The Dixie Dawg

    I agree! This franchise failed the moment it didn’t take the deal from New Orleans and instead thought Tim Couch was the answer. Yes I know we would have been saddled with way too much to sign at once but we could have selected talent to build with and be a winner now. Instead Policy and his cronies got rich and got to watch football from loges. Did they care about winning for years to come or their own wallets? I think the latter….

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.e.burns John E. Burns

    The Browns need to continue to build thru the draft! If they can find some mid-priced FA that don’t want the bank and can provide depth that is good, but evaluating  the draft and making the right choices is the most important thing. With 2 first round picks this season we must make good choices! I personally like Trent Richardson with the first and let Hillis go if he must. Richardson is a back that will be able to carry the load. Then with the next pick grab the South Carolina receiver or with the first pick in the second round grab him and use that 2nd first round pick to find another DB, LB, or which ever is the best player available. The Browns need help in a lot of places but reality has shown chemistry and a few moves can take you from pretender to contender pretty quick! I have been loyal and always will be for a long long time and I would love to see us contend again like all Browns fans! As for Mike Wallace sorry he can stay in Pittsburgh or go some place else never has impressed me that much and I would rather take Alton Jeffries or Michael Floyd or the list goes on.