The Cleveland Browns want to be a defensive led team and they are putting their money where their mouth is related to that. In a recent article by SI, the Browns were noted to be the only team spending over half of their cap space on the defensive side of the ball:
The Browns have allocated a league-high $82.1 million this season to their defense, which is projected to take up 54 percent of Cleveland's 2015 payroll. The Browns are the only team spending over half of its cap space on that side of the ball.
That is a sign of a team knowing what they believe in and acting upon it. The Browns have invested money in Joe Haden, Tramon Williams, Donte Whitner, Karlos Dansby, Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant. They have also a few 1st round picks on the defensive side of the ball that are still under their rookie contracts: Phil Taylor, Barkevious Mingo, Justin Gilbert and rookie Danny Shelton.
Here is their graphic:
SI notes that the Browns are helped by very limited dead money, money left on the cap after cutting players in previous years. The Browns have less than $2 million in dead cap money, with $750K charged for Ben Tate.
The Browns also have these percentage differences between offense and defense for negative reasons. Three positions on offenses tend to take up the majority of the salary cap: Quarterback, Left Tackle and Wide Receiver. While Joe Thomas is the team's 2nd highest paid player, behind Haden, the Browns haven't had a QB or WR worth paying big bucks to in their recent history.
While the Browns don't want to be in a situation like the Bengals, paying Andy Dalton top dollar for mediocre performance, they haven't had a QB worth even tempting them to do so. Josh Gordon could have received a big time offer from the Browns if he didn't have suspensions that will make him miss 27 of 32 games spanning last year and this.
For now the Browns are truly putting their money where their mouth is but we are sure they hope that sometime soon they have a QB/WR combo that is worthy of the big time dollars. When that happens, the team may have to adjust their defensive spending. Thankfully they have been saving some cap space the last couple of years. Lets hope they get a chance to use it soon.
Lets also hope that their defensive spending never again leads to the worst run defense in the league again, as SI pointed out in this chart: