- Pat McManamon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Cleveland Browns fans complained the past few years as the team sat idly by while free agency raged. The Browns fiddled while free agents burned holes in owners’ pockets.
Or something like that.
Since the 2014 version of free agency began, the Browns have spent $55.8 million in guaranteed money.
That’s the highest total in the AFC North, and following the matching of Jacksonville’s offer to Alex Mack, ranks third in the league in guaranteed money spent since March 11.
Which means the Browns rank third to the Bucs and Broncos in guaranteed money, with most of it going to Mack ($18 million reported, though the number has not been confirmed), linebacker Karlos Dansby ($12 million) and safety Donte Whitner ($13 million). The Browns started free agency with a glut of cap space, and they’ve not been shy about using it.
And they’ve spend more than $50 million in guaranteed contracts without even addressing the quarterback position.
Second in the division in spending are the Baltimore Ravens at $36.3 million, though their total does not include re-signing Dennis Pitta just before free agency began. That signing brings the Ravens' guaranteed money total to $52.3 million -- still short of the Browns.
Most of Baltimore’s money went to Pitta and offensive tackle Eugene Monroe ($19 million).
Take away those two re-signings and Baltimore’s guaranteed total of $18 million is more like a team that feels good about itself.
Same for the Bengals, a team that has made the playoffs three years in a row and feels it’s close to something good. Cincinnati has spent just $7.3 million in guaranteed money, the fourth lowest total in the league.
Pittsburgh? The Steelers never go overboard in free-agent spending and this year is no different. Their total of $8.7 million is just ahead of Cincinnati.