Browns

Jimmy Haslam is definitely not a cheap owner

Despite the overwhelming amount of salary cap space the Browns have, you can’t call Jimmy Haslam cheap. I’ve been relentless in my criticism of cutting Joe Haden “because I don’t care about Jimmy Haslam’s money,” but I need to be fair. I understand the difference between the NFL’s accounting principles with the salary cap and what it costs for the Browns to run their team from a cash flow perspective in a given year. In 2017 Jimmy Haslam wrote a huge amount of checks for a ridiculous amount of money.

“But I thought the Browns have over $63 million in free cap space!” That’s true. The Browns’ largest cap hits in 2017 are Joel Bitonio at $12.2 million followed closely by Jamie Collins at $12.1 million. The way the salary cap works, when you pay a signing bonus, you get to divide that cost out over the life of a contract. Myles Garrett’s cap number in 2017 is just over $5.5 million with a base salary of $465,000 and signing bonus charge of over $5 million. Garrett’s rookie deal included a $20.7 million signing bonus that all had to be paid in 2017. So for Jimmy Haslam’s accounting purposes, in real life, Haslam and the Browns will scratch checks (or direct deposit) $20,273,004 to Myles Garrett this year alone so that his cap number never actually rises to $10 million in the life of his four-year rookie deal. Kevin Zeitler costs $8.4 million on the cap in 2017, but Haslam had to write checks for $18 million in 2017.

At the end of the accounting exercise, the Cleveland Browns have a salary cap amount of $96,944,437 on active players. Jimmy Haslam’s bank account is less $143,321,007 for those active players. Due to signing bonuses on free agents and rookies, Haslam spent $46 million more in cash than what’s reflected on the cap. When you consider that, you begin to have an understanding why the Browns might have played hardball with Joe Haden over his contract. You begin to understand why he might be searching for executive-level talent to insert into his front office. The financial wizardry of this Browns front office is really incredible, and it should be because that’s Sashi Brown’s background. The Browns paid Joel Bitonio $8.5 million on a roster bonus, taking all the cap hit in a single year, probably to make it easier to cut him if his injury wouldn’t have allowed him to play in the long run.

Let’s talk about “Dead Cash” for a second, though. Jimmy Haslam is paying nearly $20 million for guys who aren’t even on the team. By cutting Joe Haden, Jimmy Haslam saved money, but it will still cost him $3.25 million in cash for this season. Of course, there’s also Brock Osweiler who is costing Haslam more than $15 million to not play for the Browns this season. In total, when you consider the non-roster cash outlay on players, Haslam’s bill comes out to more than $180 million in 2017. So, you know he felt like this plan was in service of something. Otherwise, there’s no way he would agree to it all.1

It also means that when the Browns do find that quarterback who is worthy of Joe Flacco money (I kid!) they’ll have plenty of cap space to do it. The issue, of course, is if the guys who’re building this team will be the ones who will be allowed to make the pick. For all the smart contractual maneuvering, the Browns are still struggling on the football field to be competitive. And I’m sure it’s much to Jimmy Haslam’s chagrin seeing as it cost him over $143 million in cash this season to watch this roster of players struggle to find a W.

(All data used in this post was compiled from spotrac)

  CAP ACCOUNTING     CASH ACCOUNTING 
NamePos Base Salary Signing Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus 2017 Cap Hit 2017 Cash Hit The Diff
Myles GarrettDE 465,000 5,064,501 5,529,501 20,723,004 15,193,503
Kevin ZeitlerG 6,000,000 2,400,000 8,400,000 18,000,000 9,600,000
Kenny BrittWR 4,000,000 1,625,000 5,625,000 10,500,000 4,875,000
Christian KirkseyILB 3,797,000 1,365,625 5,162,625 9,797,000 4,634,375
Jabrill PeppersS 465,000 1,415,361 1,880,361 6,126,446 4,246,085
David NjokuTE 465,000 1,266,835 1,731,835 5,532,342 3,800,507
Jamie CollinsOLB 4,750,000 1,250,000 6,000,000 100,000 12,100,000 15,850,000 3,750,000
J.C. TretterC 2,000,000 1,500,000 109,375 3,609,375 6,609,375 3,000,000
DeShone KizerQB 465,000 434,712 899,712 2,203,848 1,304,136
Larry OgunjobiDT 465,000 245,391 710,391 1,446,564 736,173
Jason McCourtyCB 1,500,000 625,000 218,750 2,343,750 2,968,750 625,000
Caleb BrantleyDT 465,000 44,993 509,993 644,975 134,982
Zane GonzalezK 465,000 22,289 487,289 554,156 66,867
Matt DayesRB 465,000 16,067 481,067 529,270 48,203
Britton ColquittP 1,650,000 1,500,000 3,150,000 3,150,000
Isaiah CrowellRB 2,746,000 2,746,000 2,746,000
Marcus MartinG 1,777,000 20,000 1,797,000 1,797,000
Charley HughlettLS 615,000 850,000 1,465,000 1,465,000
Sammie CoatesWR 615,000 615,000 615,000
T.Y. McGillDT 615,000 615,000 615,000
Jamie MederDE 615,000 615,000 615,000
Briean Boddy-CalhounCB 540,000 540,000 540,000
Kevin HoganQB 540,000 540,000 540,000
Mike JordanCB 540,000 540,000 540,000
Austin ReiterC 540,000 540,000 540,000
Dan VitaleFB 540,000 540,000 540,000
Rashard HigginsWR 508,224 508,224 508,224
Zach BannerT 465,000 465,000 465,000
B.J. BelloILB 465,000 465,000 465,000
James BurgessILB 465,000 465,000 465,000
Trevon ColeyDT 465,000 465,000 465,000
Kai NacuaS 465,000 465,000 465,000
Kasen WilliamsWR 465,000 465,000 465,000
Deon KingOLB 412,945 412,945 412,945
Bryce TreggsWR 412,941 412,941 412,941
Reggie PorterCB 410,295 410,295 410,295
Randall TelferTE 540,000 29,384 569,384 540,000 (29,384)
Spencer DrangoG 540,000 51,912 591,912 540,000 (51,912)
Seth DevalveTE 540,000 95,848 635,848 540,000 (95,848)
Derrick KindredS 540,000 124,839 664,839 540,000 (124,839)
Ibraheim CampbellSS 615,000 128,002 743,002 615,000 (128,002)
Ricardo LouisWR 540,000 141,962 681,962 540,000 (141,962)
Joe SchobertOLB 540,000 158,489 698,489 540,000 (158,489)
Cody KesslerQB 604,049 166,197 770,246 604,049 (166,197)
Duke JohnsonRB 642,500 177,523 10,000 830,023 652,500 (177,523)
Shon ColemanT 568,000 196,884 20,000 784,884 588,000 (196,884)
Carl NassibDE 618,110 222,438 840,548 618,110 (222,438)
Nate OrchardOLB 841,028 377,055 1,218,083 841,028 (377,055)
Joel BitonioG 3,164,777 573,036 8,500,000 12,237,813 11,664,777 (573,036)
Jamar TaylorCB 2,500,000 750,000 25,000 3,275,000 2,525,000 (750,000)
Emmanuel OgbahDE 750,438 751,753 1,502,191 750,438 (751,753)
Danny SheltonDT 1,498,970 1,692,939 3,191,909 1,498,970 (1,692,939)
TOTALS  56,677,277 22,914,035 17,178,125 175,000 96,944,437 143,321,007 46,376,570
  1. The Browns are spending the fourth most amount of cash in 2017 of any NFL franchise, while holding the most cap room. []

  • mgbode

    I suspect that Mayfield & Jackson will be gone in the first five picks.

  • RGB

    We can’t possibly pass on Saquon at #1.
    Can we?

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi CBI … i would say 3-13 won’t be good enough next year , but I would still be on board … if the FO properly addresses the offensive skill positions this next off-season , they’ll do better than 3-13… I am looking for the Browns to contend for the division title in 2019 & then have decent , sustained success every year after that.

  • jpftribe

    So you’re saying we’ll trade down to 6?

  • jpftribe

    With a rock solid pipeline….

  • tsm

    If Darnold or Rosen are available we better. I would try and then trade a 2nd rounder along with my other 1st rounder and move up for Barkley.

  • mgbode

    I am ever vigilant.

  • mgbode

    Running back at No. 1? Yeah, we can. I love him, but if Kizer doesn’t show himself better the last weeks & there’s a QB there who we value, then it is not even a question.

    Also, Lamar Jackson.

  • RGB

    Ok, then later we go with my steal of the draft: Sony Michel.

  • RGB

    We may have to move up to #3 to get Saquon. I think that will take more than our #15-ish and a second rounder.

  • tsm

    I would sweeten the pot. We need actual superior football players, not just more draft picks. It is about time to cash in.

  • RGB

    He had a plan, too.

  • max74mm

    Kenny Britt getting 10.5M cash is criminal.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … good one.

  • Shelby Wildeman

    well… if you really look at it… Coleman has been a bum.. Garrett ain’t done a dam thing.. Peppers hasn’t shown anything… And Njoku is doing ok so far.. The quarterbacks this team has drafted in 2016 and 2017 suck. and in 2016 did you see how many receivers we drafted and none are any good… so there really isn’t a big improvement in the draft

  • Shelby Wildeman

    Cousins isn’t going to Cleveland.. I am a Browns fa but recently moved to San Fransisco… Cousins is gonna play for the 49ers next year.

  • Shelby Wildeman

    we passed on some really great quarterbacks the past 2 years in the draft… and I mean some really good onmes.. I have no clue what these guys are thinking when they are in the draft room…or what they are smoking…

  • Shelby Wildeman

    I agree 100%.. I couldn’t believe we didn’t go after him.. we could have gave a 3rd and threw in a 5th.. and not even hurt or draft next year

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi SHELBY … I think you’re right , but nothing is guaranteed , never say never & all that good stuff.

    I hope you have the fortitude to stay a Browns fan … better days are coming , though you might not think so now.

  • tigersbrowns2

    they have plenty of cap space space to address offensive skill players in free-agency & then they are set-up real nice in the next draft … let’s see what they do.

  • Robert Sass

    ROI- Return on Investment for Haslam = 1 win in two seasons. The Browns are about to become the worst 2 year football team in NFL history… despite what Haslam has spent…