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As is always the case at this time of year, NFL teams are making moves to get themselves compliant with the salary cap ahead of the new league year, which begins in mid-March. The Cleveland Browns have made their latest such move, restructuring the contract of star cornerback Denzel Ward, according to NFL Media

Ward, 26, was set to count against Cleveland's books for around $23.5 million, but after the restructure, that number will instead be approximately $12.1 million. The move saves Cleveland $11.359 million in 2024 salary, putting the Browns $3 million under the cap. They will surely make more moves to create additional space so they can sign free agents and eventually their draft class, but they can now head into the new league year without having to do anything else. 

Ward signed a five-year, $100.5 million extension back in 2022, and is under contract through the 2027 season. His cap hits at the moment are $12.1 million (2024), $24.6 million (2025), $30.5 million (2026) and $27 million (2027), though those figures are likely to change as the Browns continue to massage their cap in the future.

With Deshaun Watson's fully-guaranteed contract weighing on their books like an anvil, the Browns will have to continually restructure and extend the contracts of other highly-paid players, and it seems likely that Amari Cooper will be next on that list. They can also restructure Watson's deal, but given his level of play since arriving in Cleveland, that seems unwise.

An extension for tackle Jedrick Wills would also save the team ample space, while cutting ties with running back Nick Chubb -- one of the NFL's best players at his position but who is coming off a major injury that required two surgeries -- would save another $11.8 million. The Browns have options, but they also definitely still have some work to do with their roster.