For the second time in three years, Jadeveon Clowney is without a team near the end of May. While his 2020 free agency stay did not conclude until days before the regular season began, no team had the inside track on the former No. 1 pick during that unusual offseason. Two years later, Clowney has seen a primary suitor emerge.
This offseason has frequently connected the Browns to a second Clowney deal. Mutual interest is believed to exist, and Myles Garrett is on board with his 2021 pass-rushing partner returning. The Browns are optimistic another Clowney contract will be completed, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.
No deal is imminent, and Clowney has shown a willingness to proceed without a team deep into a summer. His initial Browns pact took place in April 2021. That contract led to a bounce-back season from the former Texans Pro Bowler, who played 14 games and recorded nine sacks — his most since his Houston days. The well-traveled edge defender finished with 32 pressures last season (tied for 25th in the league). Garrett, who matched T.J. Watt with an NFL-high 52, undoubtedly helped bolster Clowney’s value.
It will be interesting to see if a multiyear deal transpires as a result. Not much interest has emerged from beyond Cleveland, though Carolina may be on the lookout here. Due largely to injuries, Clowney has been on a year-to-year track since his rookie deal expired. The Texans completed a tag-and-trade sequence in 2019, sending Clowney to the Seahawks, who did not re-sign him. The South Carolina product then signed one-year deals with the Titans and Browns.
Cleveland’s $27MM-plus in cap space leads the NFL. The team did draft a defensive end on Day 2 (UAB’s Alex Wright, chosen 78th overall) and traded for Chase Winovich, but Clowney would be a safer bet opposite Garrett. Clowney, 29, could also help as an inside rusher at times for a team rebooting at defensive tackle. Its 2021 D-tackle starters — Malik Jackson (unsigned) and Malik McDowell (nontendered as an ERFA) — are free agents. For a team that traded for ex-Clowney teammate Deshaun Watson, signifying a genuine attempt at Super Bowl contention, bolstering a thin roster spot with an accomplished veteran certainly makes sense.