Salary cap space
As of March 17, 2021, the Browns are projected to have $24,013,844 in cap space for 2021.
The Browns rolled over $30.4 million in 2020 cap space.
March 10 update: The salary cap has been set at $182.5 million.
The Cleveland Browns put together the best season we’ve seen from this franchise in a long time, but they fell short in the divisional round against the Kansas City Chiefs. Cleveland finished the season with an 11-5 record in a tie for second in the AFC North but blew out the division champ Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round weekend of the playoffs. Whether the Browns can continue to be a player in the playoffs consistently will largely come down to personnel decisions.
This will be an important offseason for Cleveland as it looks to capitalize on a successful 2020. The Browns head into the offseason with plenty of cap room, so it’s possible they are active in free agency and are able to re-sign some of the players that got them there.
The NFL powered through its 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The league played without fans in most stadiums, and limited fans in a handful of locations. The decrease in gate revenue is going to result in a decrease in money shared between the 32 teams. This in turn means the salary cap has been decreased. The NFL has announced an official salary cap of $182.5 million, which is sure to result in some tough choices for many teams.
All salary cap information below comes courtesy of the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report.
No matter what issues need to be solved, it has to start with what’s happening at the quarterback position. Baker Mayfield just finished up his third season and appears to be the quarterback of the future for the Browns. He is set to make just $920,000 in 2021 as a base salary, and he could very well be in for a big extension.
The Browns’ top five tacklers from this season are set to become free agents with B.J. Goodson, Malcolm Smith, Terrance Mitchell, Andrew Sendajo and Karl Joseph. In addition, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and primary slot cornerback Kevin Johnson are free agents. Mitchell was the highest paid player of this group in 2020 with a $2.5 million base salary, so this defense could look much different in 2021.
Cleveland has done a great job providing Mayfield with enough playmakers to be successful with Jarvis Landry and O’Dell Beckham Jr., but there will be decisions that have to be made at the wide receiver position. Rashard Higgins was a big part of the Browns’ success this season, but he’s set to hit free agency. Beckham has a base salary of $14.5 million in 2021, and Landry is at $12.5 million. It seems unlikely but if Cleveland wants to free up some room at the position, Landry’s contract is no longer guaranteed in 2021 or 2022, so they wouldn’t be forced to pay him if they decide to cut him.