Jadeveon Clowney

Ravens Rumors: Left Guard, Wallace, Washington, Clowney

The competition for a starting job that began with five or six candidates has seemingly been whittled down to two. According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, it seems that veteran John Simpson and rookie Malaesala Aumavae-Laula are the final two players fighting for the starting left guard job in 2023.

Simpson appears to be the frontrunner. He has received a good amount of snaps with the first-team offensive line in camp and hasn’t looked out of place. Aumavae-Laula is viewed to have a higher ceiling than Simpson, and while the sixth-round pick out of Oregon has shown less consistency, the staff seems to be open to “letting him learn on the job.” With Simpson receiving the most first-team reps leading up to the regular season, it appears to be his job to lose, but it may be difficult to hold off Aumavae-Laula for long.

On the flipside, it’s a disappointing outcome for former third-round pick Ben Cleveland. After losing the starting battle to Ben Powers last year, the 6-foot-6, 357-pound lineman seems to be on the losing end of the competition for the second straight year. If he can’t show something soon, Cleveland may find himself fighting for a roster spot next summer.

Here are a few more rumors coming out of Baltimore:

  • Weeks ago, wide receiver Tylan Wallace was considered a likely candidate to be cut before the start of the regular season. After Wallace only amassed 56 receiving yards over his first two seasons, the additions of Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor, and Zay Flowers made Wallace’s future cut seem like a foregone conclusion. With Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, among others, set to return, the battle for the WR6 position became a must-win. According to Zrebiec, Wallace responded to the adversity by hiring a new trainer and showing out in the preseason. Wallace has given strong performances in the last two weeks while other fringe receivers like James Proche have seen some rough stretches. There’s no guarantee that Baltimore holds on to six wide receivers, but if they do, Wallace is making a strong case for the job.
  • Formerly an undrafted free agent, Ar’Darius Washington has kept at least a spot on the practice squad with the Ravens over his first two NFL seasons as a promising reserve safety and special teamer. According to Zrebiec, though, he has inflated his stock this preseason by shining as a nickel cornerback. His smaller 5-foot-8, 177-pound frame makes some matchups an issue, but Washington has been one of the Ravens’ top performers in the past two weeks and should make a strong case for a roster spot and a true role on the defense.
  • Finally, while second-year pass rusher David Ojabo hasn’t stood out much in the team’s preseason games, the Ravens staff is still excited about his development after barely playing coming off an injury as a rookie. According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN, head coach John Harbaugh made a point to say that the addition of veteran edge Jadeveon Clowney would not impact the playing time of Ojabo. “You want to have enough guys,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a lot of snaps…about 1,200 snaps in the season. You need all those guys.”
  • Hensley’s colleague at ESPN, Field Yates, also provided us with some details on Clowney’s contract with the Ravens. Along with Clowney’s base contract value of $2.5MM, consisting of a $1.17MM base salary and a $1.34MM signing bonus, Clowney can receive up to $3.5MM of incentives. Specifically, he will earn $500K for five sacks, $1MM for seven sacks, or $1.75MM for nine sacks. The same respective amounts would be paid out if Clowney plays over 50 percent, 60 percent, or 65 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. If he hits full incentives, it would push the total value of his contract up to $6MM. Finally, he will earn a per game active roster bonus of $20K for a potential season total of $340K.

Ravens Sign Jadeveon Clowney

2:22pm: Clowney’s deal includes base compensation of $2.5MM and has a maximum value of $6MM via incentives, per Zrebiec and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter links). The latter figure matches the guaranteed value of Houston’s pact with the Panthers, so the Ravens’ new edge veteran will likely end up being a less costly replacement.

11:32am: Not long after visiting the team on a workout, Jadeveon Clowney has circled back to the Ravens. The veteran edge rusher has agreed to a deal with Baltimore, reports Josina Anderson of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The agreement has since been confirmed by a team announcement.

Clowney met with the Ravens last week, signaling the interest which existed between team and player. The former No. 1 pick had been on the market since his Browns release, and he had not seen much of a market until recently. Baltimore was interested in other veteran edge rushers as well, but it comes as little surprise that they have come to terms.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport adds, to no surprise, that this Clowney deal is one year in length. Jeff Zrebiec of the Athletic notes, meanwhile, that the contract was agreed to last night and it will be signed as early as today (Twitter links). The 30-year-old has made a career of short-term agreements, bouncing around the league while posting inconsistent numbers in the sack department. His 2021 total of nine in that regard showed promise for his long-term future in Cleveland, but things took a much different turn with the Browns last season.

Remarks related to playing time and usage led to the three-time Pro Bowler being sent home for the season finale. A public apology ensued, but it nevertheless came as no surprise when he was released in March, setting up yet another free agency period. A return to the AFC South seemed possible at one point, with Clowney noting a reunion with the Texans was on his radar. He also visited the Jaguars recently, but Jacksonville was not prepared to make a contract offer.

Instead, the South Carolina product will join a Ravens team which was in search of a veteran edge rusher. The departure of Justin Houston left the team with recent draftees Odafe OwehDavid Ojabo and Tavius Robinson, along with veteran Tyus Bowser in place as pass-rushers. The latter has succeeded while serving in a versatile role rather than one predicated solely on sack production, while the former three have combined to play 34 regular season NFL games. Clowney, a veteran of Houston, Seattle, Tennessee and Cleveland, has 109 games to his name and should serve as a rotational edge defender.

Baltimore addressed a lack of healthy corners with the signing of Ronald Darby yesterday. That contract has been followed up by one for Clowney, who will be counted on as a depth addition to a Ravens front which ranked sixth in the league with 48 sacks last season. While that has not proven to be a dependable skillset for the latter, he should play a notable role in his latest new home.

AFC South Notes: Clowney, Titans, Colts

Jadeveon Clowney has made two visits but remains a free agent. Following his Ravens meeting, the former No. 1 overall pick visited the Jaguars. Not only did the Jags let Clowney leave, Doug Pederson indicated (via NFL.com’s James Palmer) the well-traveled pass rusher left Jacksonville without a contract offer. Clowney, 30, did not exactly part ways with the Browns on good terms, clashing with the team’s coaching staff during his second season as Myles Garrett‘s top sidekick. Clowney has now played for four teams, and while a return to the AFC South would strengthen the Jags’ pass rush, no deal is imminent.

The Jags lost Arden Key, who signed with the Titans, but reunited with Dawuane Smoot, who is coming off a December Achilles tear. Key’s exit will place more pressure on last year’s No. 1 pick, Travon Walker, who finished with 3.5 sacks and 10 QB hits as a rookie. Josh Allen remains Jacksonville’s pass-rushing anchor, but more will be expected of Walker. Clowney played for $8MM in 2021 and $10MM last year. The Jaguars hold a $10MM cap-space lead on the Ravens, carrying $18.4MM to Baltimore’s $8.8MM.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • Although the Titans made a promotion to fill their offensive coordinator job for the third straight occasion, Tim Kelly has made some changes. The team has pivoted to the type of offense Kelly and Bill O’Brien ran in Houston, rather than the version of the Sean McVay attack Matt LaFleur brought with him back in 2018, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. “There’s a touch more freedom in his offense,” Ryan Tannehill said of the Patriots-style attack. “Being able to make adjustments on the fly, make changes at the line of scrimmage, a little more freedom within the route trees.” The Titans dropped from 17th to 30th in total offense from 2021 to 2022, helping lead to Todd Downing‘s ouster.
  • Tennessee is once again dealing with issues staffing its right tackle position, with Nicholas Petit-Frere incurring a six-game gambling suspension. The Titans also released Jamarco Jones, who was competing for the temporary fill-in gig, early in training camp. July pickup Chris Hubbard has taken over as the frontrunner to replace Petit-Frere to start the season, The Athletic’s John Rexrode notes (subscription required). Hubbard, who spent the past five years in Cleveland, has not worked as a regular starter since 2019 and has only started one game over the past two seasons. The Titans will have four new O-line starters in Week 1, and with Aaron Brewer sliding from guard to center, the team will not have any 2022 O-line starter playing the same position to open the season.
  • As the Colts transition to another coaching staff, Mo Alie-Cox‘s Colts roster spot might not be secure. The veteran tight end is vying for a blocking role against offseason signing Pharaoh Brown, according to the Indianapolis Star’s Nate Atkins. The Colts have Jelani Woods as a roster lock and used a fifth-round pick on Will Mallory. While Atkins notes Alie-Cox should have the upper hand on Brown, the team has some decisions to make. Kylen Granson, a 2021 fourth-round pick, is also not assured of a job in Shane Steichen‘s offense. It would cost the Colts $2.4MM in dead money to release Alie-Cox, who has been with the team since 2017.
  • The Texans are hiring former Northwestern director of player personnel Jonny Kovach as a player personnel assistant, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 notes. Multiple offers came Kovach’s way, per Wilson. Kovach had stayed on with the Big Ten program due to loyalty to Pat Fitzgerald. With Fitzgerald dismissed in the wake of the program’s hazing scandal, Kovach will make the jump to the pros.

Jaguars To Host Jadeveon Clowney

7:58pm: Clowney’s visit in Jacksonville has come and gone without a deal being made. After leaving Baltimore without the promise of a contract, Clowney once again concludes a visit with no deal imminent, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Only one season removed from a nine-sack 2021 performance, it’s unclear who is determining the progress of these contracts. Either teams are hesitant to ink a pass rusher who has recorded three or fewer sacks in three of the last four seasons or Clowney is seeking a value that he hasn’t yet been offered. Either way, Clowney’s search for the fifth NFL team of his career continues.

3:40pm: Another suitor has emerged for Jadeveon ClowneyThe veteran edge rusher is set to meet with the Jaguars today, reports Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 (Twitter link).

The Ravens hosted the former No. 1 pick a few days ago, and his market now appears to be heating up late in the offseason. Clowney did not depart Baltimore with a deal in place, but head coach John Harbaugh indicated the team is still interested in one. With the likes of Yannick Ngakoue and Justin Houston having signed recently, the pass-rush market has thinned out considerably.

That could help drive Clowney back to the AFC South. He spent the first five years of his career in Houston, earning each of his three Pro Bowl nods between 2016-18. Clowney has played exclusively on short-term deals since then, however, including one-year stints with the Seahawks and Titans. His Browns tenure, which began in 2021, came to an unceremonious end after his release in March.

Jacksonville could represent a suitable landing spot for Clowney as he looks for yet another new beginning. The Jaguars retained a number of contributors from last year’s surprisingly successful team, but production on the edge has been an area for improvement during the offseason. Jacksonville registered just 35 sacks in 2022, and Arden Key (responsible for 4.5 of them) was among the few players to depart Duval County.

One player who has increasingly come under fire with respect to edge production – or a distinct lack thereof – is K’Lavon ChaissonThe LSU alum has recorded just one sack in each of his Jaguars campaigns, making the team’s decision to decline his fifth-year option an obvious one. A step forward from Chiasson would help Jacksonville improve on the edge, but the addition of Clowney, 30, could as well. Sack totals have fluctuated for the latter, but in 2021 he posted nine, matching the second-highest total of his career.

Clowney could at least be in line for a rotational role to compliment Pro Bowler Josh Allen in a pass-rushing capacity should his Jaguars visit produce an agreement. Jacksonville currently sits sixth in the league in cap space with $18.3MM, so they could afford a short-term commitment to Clowney or fend off other interested parties if needed. It will be interesting to see how many other suitors (if any) emerge in the near future as Clowney approaches a decision on his future.

Latest On Ravens’ Interest In Jadeveon Clowney

When Jadeveon Clowney visited the Ravens earlier this week, he ended up leaving Baltimore without signing a deal. However, John Harbaugh is still optimistic that the two sides can eventually agree to a contract. Speaking to reporters today, the Ravens coach said Clowney is still a realistic option, but Harbaugh also cautioned that the organization is talking to other free agent edge defenders.

[RELATED: Ravens Meet With Jadeveon Clowney]

“I haven’t heard otherwise,” Harbaugh said of a potential Clowney signing (via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley on Twitter). “It’s ‘So you’re saying we still got a chance.’”

Clowney was in Baltimore for a visit on Tuesday, and we later learned that the front office made an offer to the veteran. Clowney will continue to consider his options, but it sounds like it’s only a matter of time before the pass rusher makes a decision.

The former first-overall pick was cut by the Browns earlier this offseason following a disappointing two-sack campaign. Clowney will be hard pressed to hit the $8MM deal he signed with Cleveland last offseason, but he could point to Justin Houston, Leonard Floyd, and Frank Clark all signing deals between $5MM and $7MM in 2023. The Ravens are currently armed with $9.5MM in cap space.

Elsewhere on defense, Harbaugh acknowledged that the team’s current cornerback depth is “an issue, no doubt” (per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic on Twitter). The head coach also noted that the cornerback position is an issue the Ravens will probably have to address, a hint that the team could be making an addition to their secondary.

Part of the team’s issues at cornerback are related to injuries. Rock Ya-Sin, Jalyn Armour-Davis, and Arthur Maulet are currently sidelined with injuries, while Pepe Williams has been limited during training camp. The team’s depth will only improve with time, but Harbaugh seemed to indicate that the front office would consider additions at the position regardless of health.

Ravens Meet With Jadeveon Clowney

AUGUST 9: The Ravens have submitted an offer to Clowney, per Josina Anderson of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The former No. 1 pick will mull his options, but the Ravens certainly have an opening amongst veteran edge defenders. Baltimore currently sits at $9.5MM in cap space, which should allow them to field a competitive offer (especially on a one-year pact, which Clowney is likely in line for this late in the offseason) relative to other suitors. It will be worth watching how team and player proceed in the coming days with the pass-rush market having thinned out recently.

AUGUST 8: After both Justin Houston and Yannick Ngakoue reached agreements to further move the edge rusher market along, Jadeveon Clowney looms as the biggest name available. The former No. 1 overall pick is making visits.

Clowney trekked to Baltimore for a Ravens meeting Tuesday, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec tweets. In not re-signing Houston, the Ravens have a potential need on the edge. After multiple agreements with the Browns that occurred earlier in the offseason, Clowney is back in need of a team late in the summer.

Now 30, Clowney has never been able to secure a multiyear contract since his Texans rookie deal expired. The Texans franchise-tagged the former top draftee, leading to a trade with the Seahawks. That preceded one-year pacts with the Titans (2020) and two with the Browns (2021, ’22).

Clowney’s Cleveland tenure started well (nine sacks in 2021) but ended sourly. Clashes with the Browns’ coaching staff led the team to look elsewhere for Myles Garrett complementary options this year. The Browns have since signed Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and traded for Za’Darius Smith.

Letting Houston walk (to the Panthers), the Ravens will be counting on 2021 first-round pick Odafe Oweh, who has yet to justify the team’s investment. Oweh totaled three sacks in 17 games last season. (Houston led the team with 9.5.) The Ravens will have 2022 second-rounder David Ojabo back after an injury-marred rookie year. Tyus Bowser, who also missed time to start last season because of injury, remains with the team. An injury has once again impacted Bowser, however. The seventh-year veteran resides on Baltimore’s active/NFI list. A flareup in Bowser’s knee led to the designation.

A former Texans Pro Bowler, Clowney has offered teams versatility as a pass rusher. He has offered inside-rushing capabilities along with edge work. Despite Clowney’s issues with the Browns’ defensive staff and limited sack production (two), Pro Football Focus rated him as a top-30 defensive end last season. Against the run, PFF slotted Clowney as a top-20 option among edge defenders.

Clowney has undoubtedly heard from multiple teams this offseason, and the deals given to the likes of Houston ($6MM guaranteed), Ngakoue ($10MM locked in), Leonard Floyd ($7MM) and Frank Clark ($5MM) will impact teams’ pursuits of a player who has been patient in past free agency tours. Clowney signed a one-year, $8MM deal with the Browns in 2021 and collected $10MM from the team last year.

Jadeveon Clowney Interested In Reunion With Texans

A number of veteran edge rushers remain on the open market well into the offseason. One of them is Jadeveon Clowney, who, as expected, has not re-signed with the Browns this year. His next destination could still be a familiar one, however.

In an interview with Mark Berman of Fox 26, the former No. 1 pick indicated that he would welcome a deal reuniting him with the Texans (video link). Clowney, 30, lives and trains in Houston, the city in which he spent the first five years of his career. It was also with the Texans that he earned each of his three Pro Bowl nods, though his production has never fully matched his expectations at any stop in his career.

Clowney followed his tenure in Houston with single campaigns in Seattle and Tennessee, then a two-year stint with the Browns. He proved to be a productive compliment to Myles Garrett in 2021 with nine sacks, but things took a markedly different turn last season. Clowney was limited to a pair of sacks and saw his snap share drop to 63% – the lowest mark in his career since his rookie campaign.

By the end of the season – during which the South Carolina alum had been benched for his public remarks regarding his playing time and usage in the team’s defense – it was obvious that Clowney’s future would not be in Cleveland. He was released in March, leaving him on the open market once again. That puts him among the likes of Frank Clark, Justin Houston and Leonard Floyd as pass rushers seeking a new opportunity.

Clowney expressed praise for new Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans, who comes to Houston with a reputation as one of the league’s top defensive minds. The rebuilding team has made a few moves already along the edge, including trading up to the No. 3 pick in the draft to select Will Anderson Jr, along with the signing of Chase Winovich and a reunion with Jacob Martin. That could create an uncertain path to a starting role for Clowney, but his optimism for Houston’s future could produce conversations beyond the initial one his agent had with the organization earlier this offseason.

It remains to be seen, however, if Clowney’s desire for a return is matched by the Texans. No timeline is currently in place for a deal in Houston or elsewhere to come to fruition, but it would certainly be notable if the next phase of his career took place where it began.

Checking In On Edge Rusher Market

The late-spring signing period that transpires every year — due to the compensatory formula deadline passing — has produced a number of deals. Rock Ya-Sin, Foster Moreau, Randall Cobb, Donovan Smith and a few quarterbacks (John Wolford, Trevor Siemian, Brandon Allen) agreed to terms over the past week and change.

This year’s deadline, however, has not led to a thaw in the edge defender market, which is free agency’s deepest at this point. A number of accomplished veterans — some still in or close to their prime — remain unsigned. Teams often use OTAs, minicamp and training camp to determine where roster flaws are, leading to summer veteran additions. As of last week, no such moves affect teams’ 2024 compensatory picks. Some clubs will also pick up some cap space after June 1, when they will see the money saved from previous cut designations emerge.

A few longtime starters figure to receive another chance before teams configure their final depth charts. Ahead of OTAs, here are the top options available:

Frank Clark. Age in Week 1: 30

The Chiefs cut Clark in March, separating from their most prominent edge player of the Patrick Mahomes era. While Clark did not live up to the five-year, $104MM pact he signed upon being acquired from the Seahawks in 2019 and ultimately took a pay cut to return in 2022, he did continue producing in the playoffs. Clark’s 2.5 sacks during this past postseason give him 13.5 for his career. In the official sack era (1982-present), that total ranks third. Of course, the ex-Seattle second-rounder was arrested twice in 2021 and never eclipsed eight sacks during a Chiefs regular season. He remains a starter-caliber player.

Jadeveon Clowney. Age in Week 1: 30

Perennially unable to secure a long-term deal, the former No. 1 overall pick will likely end his NFL career without landing one. Injury trouble has plagued Clowney, who missed eight games during his two-year Browns tenure. Since the Texans traded Clowney to the Seahawks in August 2019, he has taken his time before reaching a free agency accord. Clowney signed with the Titans in September 2020, inked his first Browns deal in April 2021 and re-signed in May of last year. Clashes with Cleveland’s coaching staff will lead him elsewhere. Clowney only totaled two sacks and 12 QB pressures last season, though he collected nine sacks opposite Myles Garrett in 2021.

Leonard Floyd. Age in Week 1: 31

With the Rams moving on from their four-year, $64MM agreement in March, two teams have now cut Floyd in his career. The Bears picked up his fifth-year option but, back when teams were allowed to do this, ditched it free of charge a year later back in 2020. Floyd has both displayed durability and production since that Chicago separation, showing a new gear in Los Angeles. Teaming with Aaron Donald and Von Miller certainly boosted Floyd’s chances of drawing a favorable matchup, but he kept going after Donald’s shutdown last season. Four of Floyd’s 9.5 sacks came during the six games Donald missed. Floyd’s 31 QB pressures ranked 17th last season.

Markus Golden. Age in Week 1: 32

Coming off the worst season in this contingent, Golden is two years removed from an 11-sack campaign. The former second-round pick agreed to a one-year extension that covered the 2023 season, but the Cardinals’ new regime ditched that contract in March. Golden has three double-digit sack seasons on his resume, though they have come in nonconsecutive years. An early-career ACL tear threw the Mizzou alum off track, but Golden has missed just one game over the past four seasons.

Yannick Ngakoue. Age in Week 1: 28

The second-ranked edge defender in PFR’s free agent rankings back in March (behind only Marcus Davenport), Ngakoue has consistently produced sack numbers while generating a reputation as a hired gun and run-game liability. He did not come close to reaching the May compensatory deadline in the past, however, being franchise-tagged in 2020 and signed to a two-year, $26MM Raiders deal in March 2021. The Colts took on that contract last year, via a straight-up trade for Ya-Sin, and Ngakoue reeled off a 9.5-sack season. The former Jaguars third-round pick is the only player to post at least eight sacks in each of the past seven seasons.

Dawuane Smoot. Age in Week 1: 28

One of the bright spots of the Jaguars’ Urban Meyer year, Smoot finished the 2021 season with 30 pressures. The former third-round pick accumulated 22.5 sacks from 2019-22, finishing that stretch on a two-year deal worth $10MM. He likely would have a third contract in place — either from the Jaguars or another team earlier in free agency — had a December ACL tear not occurred. The Jags did not re-sign Arden Key or use a first- or second-day pick on an edge rusher. While that potentially keeps the door open to Smoot returning when cleared (or on the homestretch toward clearance), he remains an intriguing complementary option for teams.

Kyle Van Noy. Age in Week 1: 32

Although Van Noy has operated as a hybrid of sorts, his sack consistency qualifies him for such a list. Van Noy’s one-year Chargers deal ended up requiring considerable edge work, with Joey Bosa lost for much of the season. As he had done for years in New England, Van Noy made an impact in a pass-rushing capacity. He finished with five sacks, marking the fifth time in the past six seasons he has reached that number. Van Noy’s age and versatility make him one of the better options left. After signing with the Chargers in May of last year, Van Noy expressed interest in staying on another accord.

Mid-30s wing

Carlos Dunlap. Age in Week 1: 34

The Chiefs waited until July to add Dunlap last year, bringing in the longtime Bengals sack artist — on a one-year, $3MM pact — to replace Melvin Ingram as a Clark complement. Kansas City has since added younger UFA Charles Omenihu and used first-round picks on edges (George Karlaftis, Felix Anudike-Uzomah) in each of the past two years. The Bengals’ all-time sack leader, Dunlap finished with four last season after amassing 8.5 with the Seahawks in 2021. The Chiefs used the 13-year veteran on 39 defensive plays in Super Bowl LVII.

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Browns Release DE Jadeveon Clowney

For the fifth-straight offseason, Jadeveon Clowney is on the market. The Browns announced that they’ve released the defensive end.

After joining the Browns for the 2021 season, Clowney re-signed with the organization last offseason. While that contract technically featured some future seasons, the Browns would have had to commit more than $40MM to the defensive end if he was still on the roster on Friday. As a result, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that Clowney’s second contract with the organization was always intended to be a one-year deal.

The former first-overall pick helped rehabilitate his image in 2021 following a disappointing, zero-sack performance with the Titans in 2020. Clowney started all 14 of his appearances for Cleveland in 2021, with his nine sacks proving to be his best mark since the 2018 campaign.

However, things slightly went down hill in 2022. Clowney wasn’t nearly as productive in his 12 games (10 starts), collecting only a pair of sacks and four QB hits, his lowest total in that latter mark since his four-game rookie campaign. Further, after publicly questioning his playing time and hinting that he wouldn’t be back in Cleveland for the 2023 campaign, Clowney was sent home by the organization and was inactive for the season finale. The defensive lineman later apologized for his comments, but it seemed pretty clear that Clowney’s stint in Cleveland had all but come to an end.

Still, considering Clowney’s pedigree, there’s a solid chance he finds another gig this offseason. Despite his numbers being down, Clowney still finished as Pro Football Focus’ 27th edge rusher (among 119 qualifiers), with the site giving him a particularly high grade for his running defense.

Meanwhile, the Browns also officially announced that they’ve released safety John Johnson. We heard back in February that the Browns were planning to part ways with the veteran.

Browns Notes: Clowney, Stefanski, Watson, Johnson

Jadeveon Clowney made plenty of headlines recently with his remarks suggesting the Browns made a concerted effort on multiple occasions to give fellow edge rusher Myles Garrett favorable one-on-one matchups this season. The incident led to the 29-year-old being sent home for the season finale, and provided a further sign that he will be playing elsewhere in 2023.

Earlier this week, however, Clowney apologized to Garrett, who himself had a noteworthy public response to Clowney’s accusations. A statement from the latter said in part, “As a man I have reached out to Myles specifically to apologize. I will continue to learn and grow as a I move forward” (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). Clowney also claimed that his initial remarks were “completely misrepresented” and “taken out of context.”

On that point, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com has since responded that Clowney was quoted verbatim in their interview which included his statement that he had a “5%” chance of re-signing with the Browns this offseason. It remains to be seen if Clowney’s apology will increase the likelihood of another free agent deal being signed between the two parties, or if the former No. 1 pick will depart in a change-of-scenery move.

Here are some other Browns-related notes:

  • In light of issues such as defensive performance (which led to DC Joe Woods being fired) and discipline surrounding the team in 2022, questions have been raised regarding whether or not head coach Kevin Stefanski will delegate offensive play-calling duties. Cabot writes that he will likely retain his current role in 2023, however, citing his relationship with quarterback Deshaun Watson and their need to rebuild the playbook together as a main reason (subscription required). The Browns struggled to move the ball through the air this season, one in which Watson was suspended for the first 11 games, but they ranked sixth in the league with an average of 147 yards per game on the ground.
  • Watson’s suspension is now over, of course, but his legal battle is not. The embattled signal-caller will be forced to sit for a deposition pertaining to the 26th civil lawsuit filed against him, as detailed by USA Today’s Brent Schrotenboer. After settling most of the claims made against him this summer, Watson, 27, currently faces two outstanding suits alleging sexual misconduct during massage sessions dating back to his time with the Texans.
  • Cleveland had one of the most highly-touted backfields this season, led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Their third-stringer, D’Ernest Johnson, also flashed plenty of potential in 2021 when called upon as a spot-starter, though, leading to expectations that he could replicate his success during this campaign. He received only 11 touches all year, however, something which he explained, via Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal, was a major source of frustration. The 26-year-old added that he has not yet head from the Browns regarding a new deal, signalling that he will head elsewhere in search of a larger workload in free agency.