The NFL’s salary cap is set to increase again for the 2020 season.
The league will increase the amount of money teams are allowed to spend on players to range from $196.8 to $201.2 million, according to NFL.com reporter Ian Rapoport.
The NFL is expected to set an exact figure later this winter.
The NFL informed clubs today that projections for the 2020 salary cap are in the range of $196.8 million to $201.2 million. This marks a 40% increase from five years ago in the 2015 season ($143.3 million).
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 10, 2019
It means the Cleveland Browns will have between $52 and $55 million of salary-cap space.
The Browns must decide what to do with several players due to become free agents, including linebacker Joe Schobert, offensive tackle Greg Robinson, and safety Damarious Randall.
Cleveland could also target free agents to shore up its offensive line to protect quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was sacked 40 times in 2019 (seventh-most in the NFL).
The Browns also possess the 10th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Headed into the 2020 season, the Browns’ salary obligations are more than $184 million, according to OverTheCap.com.
Before the Browns decide which players to keep and draft, they must hire a general manager.
It comes after the Browns announced Sunday they would hire Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as their next head coach.
The Browns have more than $5 million in dead money to players no longer on the team, including offensive guard Austin Corbett, running back Duke Johnson, defensive end Chris Smith, wide receiver Antonio Callaway and linebacker Genard Avery.
The NFL’s salary cap in 2019 was $188.2 million, which means the projected increase of at least $8 million is between 4 and 6 percent.
The league’s salary cap has increased by about 40 percent since 2015 when it was $143.3 million.
Here are the Browns’ top 10 earners headed into 2020 (includes salaries, guarantees and bonuses):
- Olivier Vernon, defensive end – $15.5 million
- Jarvis Landry, wide receiver – $14.55 million
- Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver – $14.25 million
- Sheldon Richardson, defensive tackle – $13.67 million
- J.C. Tretter, center – $9.975 million
- Christian Kirksey, linebacker – $9.95 million
- Myles Garrett, defensive end – $9.68 million
- Joel Bitonio, offensive guard – $9 million
- Baker Mayfield, quarterback – $8.91 million
- T.J. Carrie, cornerback – $8.12 million
Notable free agents of 2020 include:
- Justin Simmons, Denver FS
- Anthony Harris, Minnesota SS
- Arik Armstead, San Francisco DE
- Jadeveon Clowney, Seattle DE
- D.J. Reader, Houston DT
- Chris Jones, Kansas City DT
- Jimmie Ward, San Francisco FS
- Amari Cooper, Dallas WR
- Kyle Van Noy, New England LB
- Javon Hargrave, Pittsburgh DT
- Jason Peters, Philadelphia OT
- Anthony Castonzo, Indianapolis OT
- Devin McCourty, New England FS
- Brian Poole, New York Jets CB
- Cory Littleton, Los Angeles Rams ILB
With any new regime, you can expect the Browns to make significant roster moves this offseason.
The Browns desperately need some help on the offensive line protecting Baker Mayfield and there will surely be some help available in 2020.
NFL teams can give franchise or transition tags to their own free agents from Feb. 25 to March 10.
The league year begins March 18, when NFL teams can begin negotiating with free agents and doing trades.
NFL free agency officially starts at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, March 18, 2020.