The Cleveland Browns will see an accelerated salary cap hit of $10.1 million over the next two seasons as a product of Wednesday night’s trade of Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts. In his assessment of the deal, Grantland’s Bill Barnwell digs into the pros and cons of the transaction from both sides.
The Colts are also getting Richardson at a greatly reduced price. While they do miss out on one year of a cost-controlled Richardson by trading for him during his sophomore season, they’re not forced to repay any of Richardson’s already paid $13.3 million signing bonus to the Browns, who will see the remaining unassigned (in terms of the salary cap) $10.1 million of that bonus accelerate onto their cap in 2013 ($3.5 million) and 2014 ($6.7 million). Instead, the Colts basically have Richardson signed to a guaranteed three-year deal for an average of about $2.2 million per season. If Richardson succeeds in his new digs, the Colts will get a franchise running back at less than half of his original price and at pennies of his true market value.
Richardson initially signed a four-year deal worth just over $20 million, all of which was fully guaranteed. The Browns, then led by general manager Tom Heckert, agreed to paying the running back a $13.3 million signing bonus which, from a salary cap standpoint, becomes spread out over the length of the deal. Given the trade, these portions get accelerated through 2014 rather than the initial 2015.
Per Mac’s Football, Richardson’s $6.7 million “dead” cap charge (money accounted for by a player no longer on the roster) is the third-highest in the NFL behind only Aaron Hernandez ($7.5 million, New England) and Ryan Fitzpatrick ($7 million, Buffalo).