Despite the fact the NFL salary cap could lose as much as $30 million relative to what was expected due to the pandemic, the Cleveland Browns were still in a pretty good position to operate and Field Yates of ESPN provided the most up to date look at where teams are in terms of adjusted salary cap.
The lowest the salary cap can be in 2021 is $180 million. Even in that framework, the Browns, because of their ability to continue rolling over cap space, would be operating with an adjusted salary cap of $209,409,691, the most in the NFL. If the cap is $185 million or goes as high as $188 million, that would only give them additional breathing room.
As it currently stands, the Browns have $189,626,600 in salary committed towards that $209,409,691, which would leave them with $19,783,091. Again, this is if the salary cap is at the absolute lowest possible. With the legal tampering period set to start the 15th, the official number will be out sooner than later.
The Browns have room to operate, but they are going to need to create money if they want to be aggressive in adding talent to this team, be it through free agency or trades. They have a number of ways they create cap space, including restructuring players or deferring money down the road.
Basically, the Browns are only as cash strapped as they want to be as they pursue a Super Bowl. In his press conference, Browns general manager Andrew Berry said the team would be aggressive, but that it may not be necessarily in the way fans might expect.
With so many teams needing to reduce their cap burden, the Browns could be in position to benefit. Perhaps rather than getting into bidding wars for top free agents, the Browns might opt to buy lower on players teams need to move to be in line with the lowered salary cap.