Jimmy Haslam III Free AgencyJimmy Haslam III said the Browns will have an open quarterback derby. The team just won’t hand Brandon Weeden the starting quarterback job. He will have to earn it and Colt McCoy will be included in that q.b. derby.  Last season the Browns just handed Weeden the starting job even though McCoy looked better in the preseason. Haslam III said the team is still committed to building through the draft, so as far as making a big splash in free agency, don’t look for the Cleveland Browns  to make any. Unless they can bring in a few free agents at the right price, the Browns are just not going to bring the free agents in.

This is a bit surprising, people were thinking that Haslam would  spend what ever it takes to build a winner in Cleveland. Seeing him speak from New Orleans I didn’t get the feeling that his check book was wide open. He almost seemed like he thought some of these free agents were over priced. The Browns are going to need to get some guys for their defense this off season, especially if they plan on switching to the 3-4 defense.

Cleveland needs some help at the line backer position and they need some help in their defensive secondary. If Haslam is committed to build through the draft, he is going to have to be sure his new G.M. Michael Lombardi does his homework before he takes a player in the draft. It is going to be an interesting preseason for the Cleveland Browns with their new ownership in place for their first NFL draft. Lets hope these guys get it right.


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Readers Comments (16)

  1. RB

    I think the owners are required to spend a specific percentage of cap money. Can’t remember what it is though. I believe the Bengals have the largest dollar amount available followed by the Browns.

    As far as the QB competition – good. I have no problem with that. I still expect at least one more QB in camp to also be in the running. Should be interesting to see what happens.

  2. Matt

    This is the 1st year you have to spend at least 90% of the cap. With Cleveland having to spend at least 35 million, how do they not sign 4 or 5 free agents.

    • LG

      Good question. I wonder if Haslam who talked to Holmgren after he bought the team thinks the right way to build is through the draft and not free agents….

    • Leon II

      Actually, in 2013 the floor is 88.8% of the ceiling and doesn’t go to 90% until next year. The cap itself is almost 121 million, meaning the floor is approximately 107.4 million. Plus the cap floor is determined over a four year, not one year span. This helps teams to stay under the ceiling as you have to keep in mind salaries are complicated calculation on total money paid to a player.

      The calculation start with signing bonuses. Signing bonuses are paid up front but divided over the length of the contract in terms of cap hit – depending. If the player is on the roster for the season then you add the signing bonus hit each year to the player’s salary for the year to give you the initial cap hit for an active player. If they are cut before the season starts then the full signing bonus becomes a dead money hit for that year. If they are cut during the season that years portion applies that year but the next year the full amount becomes a dead money hit.

      Salaries aren’t simple to calculate either. If the player is on the roster the entire season then their full salary is part of the cap hit. But if they get cut it becomes complicated. If the salary was guaranteed then the entire salary is part of the cap hit even if the player is cut. If the salary was only partially guaranteed the guaranteed is part of the cap hit but the remainder is proportional to the time with the team. If there was no money guaranteed then it is only proportional.

      But throw in the potential for a trade and it becomes even more confusing. The new team may take on all or part of the salary for the year or just the remainder. Then add in players who are brought onto to the team during the year either from being brought up from the practice roster, signed as free agents, or acquired through trade (and how the deal was structured). Finally, you have to adjust for players who go on and come off injured reserve as the money they get can change based on how their contract was written. Therefore, you never truly know the salary cap hit until the end of the season when adjusted accordingly.

      Now things become really insane because you have to factor in other bonuses written into player contracts. We paid almost $5.2m in other bonuses last year. At the start of the season teams have to state how much of what they might be paying in other bonuses they think is probable and therefore part of the cap calculation for that year. Any of that bonus money that isn’t earned gets deducted from the cap at the end of the year what is paid remains as part of the cap hit. However, it is also possible for players to earn bonus money above what the team thought was probable and that has to be added on at the end of the year to the cap hit. Keep in mind we paid Josh Johnson $700,000 in salary but also bonuses of $658,823 for practicing and dressing for the last game (not bad money to just put on pads and sit on the bench). None of his money was figured in at the start of the season as part of the cap hit.

      Now if you look at last year you can see how this played out. In 2012 we had a cap hit of $99,614,873 (salary, signing bonuses and other bonuses) for active contracts, $7,692,355 in dead money, $15,021,841 in injured reserve money (salary, signing bonuses and other bonuses)totaling $122,329,069. Deducting the cap roll over (what we went under, add if you go over) from 2011 of $8,980,000 we would still be over the floor at $113,349,069. There are way too many variables to predict at this point what the 2013 cap hit will be but the chance of not being over the floor at the end of the season without any significant free agents signings is very easy – if you know what you are doing.

      After reading this you probably are even more confused then before but it lets you know two things. First, why Haslam3 brought in Banner and why he was convinced to hire Lombardi. Banner and Lombardi are considered to be two of the best minds on dealing with the cap in the NFL. Second, that staying above the floor but below the ceiling while staying competitive is a delicate dance that takes real skill in the Front Office. But in truth it is easier to get over the floor then stay under the ceiling. Just ask the Steelers.

      • LG

        Great Post Leon….

      • tigersbrowns2

        good post LEON …

  3. RB

    Here’s a question for ya LG. Which positions are we better off between the old regime & new regime?

    Owner – I think we were better off with Lerner. Though I believe Haslam will give a a coaching staff more to time to develop a winning team, I believe Haslam will be too hands on in selection and evaluation of talent.

    Head Coach – I go with Chud, though I have nothing to base it on.

    Offensive Coordinator – Turner is a step up.

    Defensive Coordinator – Horton all the way.

    GM – Heckert is definately better than Lomardi. I’ve never been a fan of Lombardi, and if the Browns fail to put a winner on the field I think it will be because of Lombardi.

    President – I honestly don’t know on this one. Banner is suppose to be a helluva numbers guy, but the Browns have never had a Cap problem. I would trust. I believe Holmgren would get the nod in talent evaluation, but I just don’t know enough on Banner to make that call.

    • LG

      Rb, I think the new owner is going to be far better than Randy Learner. Haslam wants to do right but has a lot to learn. I think one problem is he is listening to too many people. As far as Banner goes I see no reason to have him here. Lombardi is the wrong guy. Any new coach has to be better than Shurmur. One good thing about Chud is the experience he is bringing in with Turner and Horton. If it were Chud and a bunch of newbies I would be worried. I don’t think Holmgren did anything but collect money here and Heckert missed some great talent in the later rounds of the draft….So I guess we live and learn….

  4. joe

    haslam said absolutely nothing about McCoy bein in competition. I love how you change things to fit your way of thinkin McCoy is out he wont even fit the new offense. say bye bye to your man crush!

    • LG

      He said Weeden would have to compete for the job. Who do you think he will be competing with?

      • Bob

        Weeden’s wife. She understands the playbook better.

        • LG

          I’ve heard that before Bob….I wonder if she could find an open receiver???

          • Bob

            Weeden told reporters his wife helped him. I heard it during one or two different games this year on CBS.

          • LG

            That’s right

  5. tigersbrowns2

    hi LG … while haslam may be a new owner he saw how things were done in pittsburgh. they mostly lived by the draft & a solid coaching staff to
    coach-up the youngsters.

    there are , however, a few defensive free-agents that could definitely help our squad … it will be interesting to see what the brass does in regards to free-agency.

    have a good one …

    • LG

      I think we really have to address our need at Corner back and Linebacker…


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