3 Browns Veterans Who Could Be Cap Casualty Cuts This Offseason
With NFL free agency right around the corner, and the NFL Draft not too long after that, teams are already making plans to try and free up cap space to upgrade their rosters heading into next offseason.
In order to do that, franchises sometimes have to make tough decisions about players to cut to free up salary cap space. Every year there are always a few surprising veterans that become cap casualties.
With that in mind, here are three veterans the Cleveland Browns could cut ahead of free agency this year.
1. Christian Kirksey, ILB
Christian Kirksey will carry a $9.95 million cap hit in 2020, but with his release, the Browns can save roughly $7.5 million this offseason. While Kirksey was once a huge part of the Browns' defense, a role that earned him this contract, he has struggled to stay healthy the past couple years, only playing in a total of nine games. Cleveland could choose to invest further in the position in the 2020 draft as they did in 2019, or they could opt for the free-agent route, which should yield a pretty solid linebacking class.
2. Chris Hubbard, RT
Arguably the Browns' biggest issue last season was the offensive line, and starting right tackle Chris Hubbard was a big reason for that. Through 14 games played in 2019, Hubbard allowed 38 total pressures, 6.0 sacks and was penalized 8 times. Hubbard only has roughly $5 million in dead money that would be left over the next three seasons total, but with Cleveland looking to make major upgrades at the position this offseason, saving that $4 million and change this year could prove to be the right move, especially for a guy who has performed this poorly.
3. Olivier Vernon, Edge Rusher
While this one might be a bit of a surprise, Vernon's $15.25 million base salary makes him currently the highest-paid player on the Browns' roster. He has performed admirably in his time with the Browns, but not necessarily up to the level of his contract. Vernon has no dead money left on his contract and would free up $15.5 million in space. He finished 2019 with 20 solo tackles (tied for 57th in the NFL among edge rushers) and 4.0 sacks (tied for 71st in the NFL among edge rushers) — not exactly numbers that get you excited. Going into the last year of his deal, maybe Vernon would be open to a restructured deal that provided less money in the short term but more stability in the long term. Even if they do cut him outright, maybe they use the money to go after a younger free-agent edge rusher like Yannick Ngakoue.
Join FanDuel Sportsbook Today. New users get a risk-free bet up to $500. Join Now.
David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.