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Earlier, we noted that the Cleveland Browns rolled over $10 million in salary-cap space from 2021 to 2022. That rollover boosted the team’s available cap space to $37 million but gave them only the 13th most cap space going into the 2022 season. The Miami Dolphins are currently set to lead the lead in space with a whopping $73 million.
The Browns have work to do on their roster for next year. They have stated they expect Baker Mayfield to have a bounce-back year but will need talent around him to do it. Given the struggles in 2021, it is possible that the team also shakes up the roster some.
There are three moves Cleveland could make to quickly add about $30 million in cap space. All three of the moves would come on the offensive side of the ball but Andrew Berry and company still could decide to make.
The biggest move, both in terms of cap space and name value, is cutting WR Jarvis Landry. Landry has one year left on his contract and is coming off the worst performance, and health, of his career. While the Browns need help at receiver, it is possible that Landry and the team decide it is best for them to part ways.
Releasing Landry frees up $15.1 million in cap space while only counting $1.5 million in dead cap.
Continuing on with older veterans with some health issues, OL J.C. Tretter could also be cut by the team. Nick Harris looked good in his place late in the season and Tretter’s departure would save the team over $8 million in cap space while only counting $1.625 million against the cap. Tretter has been an important leader for the offensive line but his knee has limited him for a few seasons.
Tretter’s role as NFLPA president has also placed extra attention on his role as a player in Cleveland.
Finally, the third release is backup QB Case Keenum. While many are calling for more competition for Mayfield, not less, the team played their injured quarterback over their backup most of the year. They showed how they feel about Keenum and can save $6.5 million in releasing him while only counting $1.33 against the salary cap.
Combined, those three moves would save the team $29.85 million in salary-cap space. That would jump their available space up to $67 million and slot them at third in the league, based on current expectations from Over the Cap.
TE Austin Hooper could be released post-June 1st to save the team $9.5 million but cost them $3.75 million in dead cap space.
OL Jack Conklin is another name that could save the team cap space in the last year of his deal but his dead cap hit is higher than the team’s savings ($9 million to $6 million). The only other player whose departure could save Cleveland significant cap space is RB Kareem Hunt, $6.25 million, but that seems highly unlikely.