Here's the thing... they don't know what the interest is nor what it'll be. They're making an expensive gamble. Even if they end up paying $12M, that's still too much.
Here's the thing. If you think about this deal in terms of analyzing just the pick bump I understand how one comes to the that conclusion, I don't blame you. Even in that case though, I think I could probably show you mathematically how they could come out ahead of the $16 million hit this year by saving that over the course of a below market rookie contract for a 2nd round pick assuming they make a strong choice (see below).
There literally could be a book written on this single trade examining its implications in the salary cap era......or at least a novella, lol.
I'm not prepared to do that here explaining my own view, nor am I gonna say trust me, it's a good deal for the Browns and expect you to agree.
Let me just give you a few thoughts to chew on yourself so you can take it to the next level with your own thinking.
The key to this whole thing is to have a frame of view of how winning in the salary cap era can, and probably should be approached (especially for a team like Clev). Instead of thinking about the one aspect, considering the trade holistically in roster building because make no mistake Clev is a classic rebuild..
Trying to stay simplistic, let me just give some quick random thoughts for you to consider;
Cleveland has to spend money, no choice, they have to hit their mandate.
So.......what else could they have done with the $$ instead?
Spend it on an FA?
Remember this trade creates a one year cap hit.
Could they have spent enough to become serious contenders with their current or post draft roster?
I think you'll agree it wasn't going to happen for them this year. So they have to think about a window 2-4 yrs down the road realistically.
Spend it on a multi-yr deal for a guy, possibly with an upfront load? Actually much riskier allocation of funds IMO, gotta be the right guy to feel good about it and he has to be a guy who fits that window.
They actually made a couple of nice signings as was noted with the OL already that helps build the foundation, maybe you see a specific guy or guys you want in that window but I'd counter its hard to know looking a few years out exactly what they need. As it is now with all the picks they own, and its a lot, its possible to probable that its better to take best available in the draft and see what develops then fill later needs with free agency esp when later they have a better chance of competing in FA if things go int he right direction.
If they had signed a 1yr Fa like a Alshon instead, or even a multi-yr guy, that player fills a roster slot that could be used on a developing guy.........one of the biggest advantages poor teams have is available roster slots for developing players.
I mean these are just a few considerations.
Over riding this while thing is in the salary cap era building a multi-year winning roster is all about getting production below market for players on your roster. To highlight what I'm talking about take the extreme example of the Seahawks and Russell Wilson a few years ago. The Seahwaks were able to find their starting QB and pay him 670k for a few years while most other teams were paying QBs 12-15 mil or more. Imagine how that affects your ability to maneuver on the rest of your roster. Now as I say that's an extreme example, but the same applies at every position on a team to lesser degrees. Draft picks are the number one way to roster a player who contributes more than his market value.
Incidentally, the other primary way to roster below market value players is signing FA bargains. What kind of chance of doing that do the Browns have at this point in time? FA vets sometimes sign for below market to play with a winner. To go to Cleveland they require a surcharge! Chances are very good any FA signing and potentially even any extension of their own players requires an above market price! There is a realistic chance they are actually falling behind other teams in balance sheet terms when they sign an FA!
The only way the Brownies are going to be able to rebuild a stable winning team is through the draft IMO. Making that trade allocated money for a year that in the scheme of things didn't matter. Compared to rostering an FA, if they cut Brock it leaves open a slot for a developing player who can be of help during their window. It actually prevents them from mis-allocating future cap either by mistake or lack of knowledge of the future. And the 2nd round pick is an asset that has a chance to fit the window, bring production below market, or be used in some other way such as part of a trade.
There is truly so much more to chew on here but I only want to allocate this amount of time I've used, maybe someone else on the same wavelength can pick up the discussion and add though.