Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was slated to count a record $54.9 million against the 2023 NFL salary cap after signing a fully guaranteed contract last offseason.
This obviously wasn’t sustainable for a Browns team that struggled big time a season ago and needs to make some moves in NFL free agency.
As part of his record-breaking contract following a trade from the Houston Texans last spring, Watson enabled the Browns to restructure his contract without the approval of the quarterback.
That’s exactly what the Browns did with roughly 48 hours to go before having to become cap compliant, as NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports Cleveland restructured Watson’s contract. It saves the team nearly $36 million in cap room.
While this is a great short-term move for the Browns, it is going to have some major ramifications down the road. Per Spotrac, Watson is going to have some absolutely huge cap hits over the next three seasons following 2023:
- 2024: $63.96 million
- 2025: $63.96 million
- 2026: $63.96 million
To say that the Browns are banking on Watson to lead them to championship contention would be an understatement. At this point, they won’t be able to move on from him until after the 2026 season should things not work out. His base salary from 2024-26 is $46 million each season.
This comes after Watson struggled in his first season with the Browns. After being suspended the first 11 games of the campaign, the three-time Pro Bowler threw seven touchdowns against five interceptions in six starts, leading Cleveland to a 3-3 record in the process.
By making this move, the Browns do find themselves $22.33 million under the cap heading into the NFL free agent tampering period.
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Publish Date:2023-03-13 23:09:24