Being a Super Bowl contender comes at a cost — that’s something the Cleveland Browns are finding out in a hurry.
The team made some major moves in the offseason to beef up their roster with Pro Bowl caliber talent. The two areas that saw the biggest improvement were the wide receiver corps and in the trenches on the defensive line.
Not coincidentally, the Browns have become among the NFL’s top spenders in those spots.
Scott Patsko of Cleveland.com broke down the the spending habits of the Browns and it turns out the team ranks No. 1 in money committed to the wide receiver position.
A year before being traded to the Browns, Beckham signed the largest deal for a wide receiver with the Giants, which featured the largest guarantee ever at the position of $65 million.
In all, the Browns are spending $38.2 million in cap dollars on their wide receivers, although it’s pretty stingy after the top two guys. Rashard Higgins is only pass-catcher in the group behind OBJ and Landry making more than $750,000.
Browns Paying Big Money to Defensive Line Additions
The conversation then turns to the defensive line, which boasts $46 million price tag, but also features 14 players. Cleveland ranks third in the league in terms of spending there.
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The defensive ends make up much of the figure, with Olivier Vernon ($15.5 million), Myles Garrett ($8.2 million) and Chris Smith ($4.4 million). They are the most expensive DE group in the league.
Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who signed with the Browns as a free agent this offseason, is set to make $9.6 million.
The league leaders in spending on the defensive line are the Carolina Panthers, who signed prized free agent Gerald McCoy — who the Browns were also targeting — to a one-year deal with a base of $8 million for the 2019 season, plus bonuses worth up to $10.25 million.
Cleveland Browns Bargain Deals At QB, RB
Baker Mayfield being on his rookie deal — which will pay him $7.4 million this season — is a big help for the Browns. The Patriots and Tom Brady lead the way in QB spending with $31.1 committed to its hurlers.
Disgruntled Duke Johnson Jr. is the Browns top paid running back and set to make $3 million this season.
Nick Chubb — a second round pick — is making just $1.6 million this season, while Kareem Hunt signed at the bargain price of $975,000. The Browns rank 18th in spending which is a major steal for a position group that should be among the strongest in the league.
The Browns were also in the top 10 spending at cornerback and safety.