As of Monday afternoon, the Cleveland Browns were $11.59 million over the cap, which has them in the ninth-worst financial situation in the NFL, per Over The Cap. Because of this obstacle, the Browns' wealthiest player is reportedly open to adjusting his contract to help the team.
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is open to restructuring his deal to help Cleveland get under the salary cap number, per Cleveland.com. Watson signed a five-year, fully-guaranteed $230 million extension last offseason after being traded from the Houston Texans. Per Spotrac, Watson's cap hit for 2023 is $54.99 million, while his base salary is $46 million. As Cleveland.com points out, since Watson's contract is fully-guaranteed, this potential transaction just affects when Watson gets his money.
Watson's fully-guaranteed contract had major ramifications when it came to the quarterback market. In addition to scoring a franchise quarterback, the Browns' decision also appeared to create a riff between the rival Baltimore Ravens and their quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is reportedly looking for a deal similar to Watson's. While this historic contract momentarily gave the league pause, the quarterback market is expected to change again this offseason -- if not because of Jackson, because of potential extensions coming for Joe Burrow and/or Justin Herbert.
Watson was suspended 11 games in 2022 for violating the league's personal conduct policy. In six games played, he went 3-3 as the starter, completing 58.2% of his passes for 1,102 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Watson's 183.7 passing yards per game marked a career low.