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Breakdown of QB Jameis Winston’s contract with the Browns

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By: Chris Pokorny

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Did the Browns’ new backup quarterback get $4 million or $8.7 million?

The dust is starting to settle from free agency, and we have a pretty clear picture on who the Cleveland Browns added during that period before turning their attention to the draft.

That also means that more contract details are available for players. I will be breaking down the contracts for the Browns’ key signings with individual articles, starting with QB Jameis Winston. When he was first signed, it was reported that his deal was worth up to $8.7 million for one year. That perceived value, coupled with the fact that QB Joe Flacco was not even reached out to, drew the ire of fans.

The truth is that the value of the contract is more affordable than originally thought. Realistically, it boils down to being a 1-year deal worth $4 million.

  • Winston’s contract is fully guaranteed. That consists of his 2024 base salary ($1.21 million) and signing bonus ($2.79 million), for a total of $4 million.
  • His signing bonus is spread out over five years, as four void years are in the contract. His contract will void at the start of the 2025 league year, which accelerates the signing bonus ($558,000 x 4 = $2.232 million) as a dead cap hit in the 2025 season. His cap hit for the 2024 season is $1.768 million.
  • What about the initial “up to $8.7 million” that was reported for Winston? It was a legitimate report, but $4.7 million of that are incentives. Typically, they are incentives that are unlikely to be earned, such as “Winston making the Pro Bowl.” If you look through Winston’s contracts over the years, he always has layers of incentives built in. We don’t know what exactly his incentive goals with the Browns are. The only clue that I’ve seen so far came from this article by Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, where she said, “If Winston starts a bunch of games and wins them, he can hit some of his $4.7 million in incentives.”
  • Disregarding incentives, the actual reality of Winston’s contract as far as cap hits go is here:

Originally posted on Dawgs By Nature – All Posts