On 31st August, NFL teams will have to cut their rosters down from 90 to 53. Every year you see some of the tops teams in the NFL cut players that come as a surprise to fans and media alike. I decided to look at how ‘safe’ Browns players are based on their contract and see if I could find some candidates for the late cut. Maybe we see a rookie pick have an amazing camp making a veteran dispensable when the roster moves to 53 player.
I’m just focusing on cuts rather than trades as the cap hits are different. I have looked at every player earning more than $800,000. I have included the 2018 PFF position ranking, dead cap hit and cap saving for each player if cut. I have also added workout bonuses to the cap hits as I am looking at cuts at the end of camp in most cases but some could be moved on straight after the draft.
Bubble – Battling To Stay
Carl Davis – U/R, Dead Cap $400,000, Saving $1,600,000
Ray-Ray Armstrong – U/R, Dead Cap $450,000, Saving $1,093,750
Chad Thomas – U/R, Dead Cap $786,705, Saving $141,089
Bryan Witzmann – G65, Dead Cap $200,000, Saving $720,000
Seth DeValve – U/R, Dead Cap $95,848, Saving $720,000
Orson Charles – U/R, Contract TBC
I would expect a battle between DeValve and Charles for the FB/TE4 spot. We are still unsure what Kitchens and Monken have planned for the role which will dictate who will be the favourite, DeValve’s health will play a factor. I would be surprised if any of the others make the final 53 without a standout performance in camp.
Likely – Should Make The Roster But Not Safe
Greg Robinson – T63, Dead Cap, Dead Cap $850,000, Saving $6,150,000
Chris Smith – ED82, Dead Cap $2,433,334, Saving $1,983,332
Drew Stanton – U/R, Dead Cap $2,100,000, $1,665,625
Britton Colquitt – Dead Cap $0, Saving $2,700,000
Adarius Taylor – LB91, Dead Cap $1,050,000, Saving $990,625
Kendall Lamm – T52, Dead Cap $600,000, Saving $1,087,500
Eric Kush – G52, Dead Cap $775,000, Saving $750,000
If the Browns get to pick 49 and an OT they really like is still on the board then don’t be surprised to see Greg Robinson get the boot at the end of camp if Campen can develop the prospect. Plus Lamm outplayed Robinson last year according to PFF so could also be contending for that spot. If you can get 90% production for under half the cost then it is always something to consider in an effort to maintain a top team year on year.
I would prefer to see Avery moved full time as an Edge rather than a LB so if they address the LB position and add an ED in the draft then Smith’s position could be at risk.
Stanton has a good chance to make the roster unless Gilbert impresses and they decide to move Stanton to a full time coaching role.
No Chance – Dead Cap Hit Is Small But They’re Safe
Olivier Vernon – ED13, Dead Cap $250,000, Saving $15,250,000
J.C. Tretter – C8, Dead Cap $1,500,000, Saving $5,750,000
Terrance Mitchell – CB68, Dead Cap $2,433,334, Saving $1,033,332
Joe Schobert – LB11, Dead Cap $158,489, $2,025,000
Rashard Higgins – WR57, Dead Cap $0, Saving $2,025,000
Eric Murray – S50, Dead Cap $9,500, Saving $2,015,500
Larry Ogunjobi – DI88, Dead Cap $490,782, Saving $574,805
Kareem Hunt – RB9, Dead Cap $55,000, Saving $920,000
Charley Hughlett – Dead Cap $0, Saving $805,000
Here is a selection of players that role is safe despite their incredibly low cap hit. We are still due to see new contacts for Vernon and OBJ which would give them more guarantees and make Vernon a lock based on that contact.
It will be interesting to see if the Browns have an interest in sorting out new deals this offseason for Tretter, Schobert and Higgins as all of them are in a final season.
Hunt is the only player on this list that has any real risk of not making the roster, he will be on a very short leash during camp so if he steps out of line he could be gone.
Lock – The Dead Cap Hit Would Be Crazy
Odell Beckham – WR4, Dead Cap $17,000,000, Saving $0
Jarvis Landry – WR33, Dead Cap $18,550,000, Saving ($4,500,000)
Sheldon Richardson – DI47, Dead Cap $15,000,000, Saving ($5,333,334)
Damarious Randall – S30, Dead Cap $9,069,000, Saving $0
T.J. Carrie – CB58, Dead Cap $10,300,000, Saving ($1,400,000)
Myles Garrett – ED12, Dead Cap $17,970,877, Saving ($9,676,626)
Christian Kirksey – LB85, Dead Cap $10,600,000, Saving ($2,400,000)
Baker Mayfield – QB8, Dead Cap $26,740,620, Saving ($19,312,670)
Chris Hubbard – T50, Dead Cap $9,450,000, Saving ($2,150,000)
Joel Bitonio – G5, Dead Cap $6,000,000, Saving $1,000,000
Denzel Ward – CB15, Dead Cap $23,862,564, Saving ($17,234,074)
David Njoku – TE28, Dead Cap $4,294,702, Saving ($1,696,881)
Demetrius Harris – TE46, Dead Cap $3,300,000, Saving ($812,500)
Austin Corbett – U/R, Dead Cap $4,311,661, Saving ($2,602,935)
Nick Chubb – RB1, Dead Cap $3,954,733, Saving ($2,276,757)
Morgan Burnett – S53, Contract TBC
None of these players are at any risk of being cut due to their contact. It doesn’t rule out a trade and it wouldn’t surprise me if Njoku is possibly on the move in the next 12 months as Dorsey doesn’t seem to be a fan.
Cap numbers from: https://overthecap.com/salary-cap/cleveland-browns/
Player grades from: https://www.profootballfocus.com/nfl/teams/cleveland-browns/8/roster
With the cuts potentially coming after June 1st some of the dead cap will be split across the 2019 and 2020 salary cap for year to year account purposes, I haven’t gone into this to make it easier to consume. For instance we are still paying $4,674,648 against the 2019 salary cap for C Hyde, C Coleman, Nassib, S Coleman, R Johnson & S Thomas.
Jack Duffin is the co-host of the Paul Brown Podcast, a Daily Browns Podcast based out of London, England. You can follow him on Twitter @JackDuffin. His DM’s are open if you have any salary cap related questions.