CLEVELAND — On Legal Tampering Day, where NFL teams can begin to negotiate with free agent players and their agents, the Cleveland Browns put them in a position to get players after restructuring the contract of quarterback Deshaun Watson, a league source confirmed.
The contract restructure was an expected and necessary move by the Browns front office led by general manager Andrew Berry that clears nearly $36 million in cap space for the team this year.
Watson was set to have a cap hit of nearly $55 million this year, but the Browns cleared the cap space by converting the quarterback's base salary into a signing bonus, a league source confirmed, giving Watson the money he's guaranteed but freeing up space for other players to fit in the cap space this year as well.
Berry had mentioned the ability to restructure Watson's contract during his media availability at the NFL Combine.
“It could be on the table, but there is a lot of flexibility in terms of what we can do from a cap perspective," Berry said when asked about restructuring the contract.
That move came Monday, allowing the Browns more wiggle room as they negotiate with free agent players around the league and attempt to fill some holes on the roster, specifically across the defensive line, a few spots in the secondary, and perhaps in the wide receiver room.
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