Deshaun Watson agreed to convert his $46 million base salary into a partial bonus, clearing $36 million under the 2023 salary cap for the Cleveland Browns, per multiple reports.
The modification was expected following general manager Andrew Berry's suggestion the accounting tactic was "on the table" for the Browns, who are navigating the atypical fully guaranteed contract Watson signed in 2022.
By moving the quarterback's salary to bonus and spreading the cap hit over the final four years of a five-year, $230 million deal, the Browns increased Watson's cap hit to $64 million each of the next three years.
The NFL suspended Watson for the first 11 games of the 2022 season and fined him $5 million for off-field personal conduct violations related to accusations from more than two dozen female massage therapists who said he committed sexual misconduct. He was scheduled to have a cap hit of more than $54 million.
The highest salary cap charge in the history of the NFL for a single season to date is $39 million.
--Field Level Media