As expected, the Browns have restructured the contract of quarterback Deshaun Watson, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). The move saves Cleveland just under $36MM in cap space, and avoids Watson breaking the NFL record for the highest cap hit in a single season (he was due to count for $54.9MM in 2023).
As was recently noted, the Browns did not require Watson’s permission to convert base salary into signing bonus, though he was reportedly open to the idea. His historic, fully-guaranteed pact signed last offseason upon his acquisition from the Texans was always seen as a financial burden beginning in 2023 due to its structure. While this move thus comes as no surprise (and will, of course, affect his cap hits in future years), it will give Cleveland the spending power needed to make at least one or two notable additions in free agency this week.
Here are some other recent contract restructures, as teams look to carve out much-needed cap space for the coming free agent frenzy:
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