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Deshaun Watson Agrees To Reconstructed Contract, Browns Create More Cap Space

Athlon Sports 3/13/2023 Lauren Merola
© Provided by Athlon Sports

The Cleveland Browns are making moves on their costly quarterback.

The team has restructured Deshaun Watson’s contract, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The Browns have reportedly converted the bulk of Watson’s $46 million base salary to a signing bonus, creating nearly $36 million in cap space for the team. 

Cleveland was roughly $14 million over the salary cap before the move, which brings it under the cap ahead of the new league year on Wednesday. It also gives the Browns breathing room to work in free agency.

Watson signed a five year, fully-guaranteed $230 million contract last offseason, including a near $45 million signing bonus with an average annual salary of $46 million. In 2023, Watson will now earn a base salary of $1.165 million plus his restructured bonus (about $46 million) and carry a cap hit of nearly $19 million.

Watson was suspended for the first 11 games of the 2022 season due to sexual harassment allegations. The NFL reinstated Watson in late November and he made his Browns debut in Week 13 against his former team, the Houston Texans.

The 27-year-old was rusty in his reintroduction to the league. In the team's final six games of the regular season, Watson went 3-3 in those starts while completing just 58.2% of his throws and registering a 79.1 passer rating. 

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