What Has Modified For The Jadaveon Clowney — And The Cleveland Browns — Since Final yr?

0
399

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 27: Jadeveon Clowney # 99 of the Tennessee Titans warms up before the … [+] Game against the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen / Getty Images)

Getty Images

Free Agent Edge Rusher Jadaveon Clowney paid a free agent visit to the Cleveland Browns earlier this week, despite not having signed a contract and Nothing on this front is viewed as “imminent”. On Wednesday, he spent the day with the team as he went through the free agency for the second year in a row and the team courted him again.

This is also the second year in a row that 28-year-old Clowney has been on the Browns’ radar. The 2019 promotion took place in a variety of circumstances – notably because it failed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant he couldn’t visit the team – and ended with Clowney signing a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans worth $ 13 million signed. From that point on, it’s unclear where Clowney is going this time or how many teams are actually in the game to get him.

Also of note: Cleveland offered Clowney substantial cash last year. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the Browns offered him most of a team’s money on a one-year contract and were “competitive” on a multi-year deal. Ultimately, Clowney just decided to go elsewhere.

What is different for both sides this time? As far as Clowney is concerned, he’ll likely have to prove himself – at least to some extent – again next season. He appeared in only eight games with Tennessee and last year not register a single sack. In fact, Clowney’s season was over in November when he was transferred to an injured reserve and had surgery to repair a tear in the meniscus. The Titans then ran out that off-season, signing Bud Dupree on a multi-year deal to replace Clowney.

A lot has changed on the Browns side and a lot has not changed.

What is the same is that the team is still looking for Pass Rush help against Myles Garrett. Cleveland has some decent downfalls – it added ex-Atlanta hawk Takk McKinley to a cheap one-year contract in the free agency, and Porter Gustin is close – but could definitely use another body. And especially a body that is above what it currently has.

What’s different is that there really isn’t an internal option to go to unless Clowney is added. Last year, Olivier Vernon was still on the squad and had a really productive season, collecting nine sacks in 14 games and arguably playing his best football while Garrett was on pause with COVID-19. But Vernon had ended his season with a ripped Achilles and it seems unlikely that he will have any impact next year, even if he’s healthy. Whether it’s Clowney or someone like former Indianapolis Colt Justin Houston, the Browns will likely have to sign someone.

Ultimately, both sides could need each other. For Clowney, a seat on the line next to Garrett might be good for him. He is not asked to be a lead rusher and could be deployed in such a way that some would imagine JJ Watt would be deployed had he picked the Browns. On a few downs, he was able to stand in and / or on the same side as Garrett for maximum chaos. With McKinley and Gustin, Clowney doesn’t have to play every snap or even most of the snaps, either. This could be a good place for Clowney to avoid having to be everything and thus look like a better player.

He’s better against the run than against the pass, so he could potentially play in different places on the line depending on the opponent and the scheme Cleveland is executing. Among the teams still in the game – and again, it’s unclear how big that list is – the Browns can compete financially with $ 13 million in cap and the ability to get more done if needed.

The Browns now need just one other job on the line, and the freelance agent market is largely out of date. Solid options remain, but none have the benefit of Clowney. The draft could result in the Browns getting an edge rusher in the first three rounds (they have a total of number 26 in the first round, two picks in the second round, and two picks in the third round), but it would get a lot of players prompt. Come in right away to get the impact the team is looking for. The Browns have a window of time to hold their own, and even if it’s a one-year deal where both sides are simply trying to profit from each other, Clowney is better than any other design option out there.