Jadeveon Clowney

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.

AFC North Rumors: Lamar, Clowney, Rudolph

The PCL sprain heard around the world continues to dog Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson’s Ravens are headed to Cincinnati next week for a rematch against the division-winning Bengals. Yet the question remains: will Jackson be the one under center for Baltimore’s wild-card matchup?

Jackson suffered his knee injury in a Week 13 win over the Broncos. Unfortunately for Baltimore, the former MVP hasn’t practiced since. The initial prognosis saw him sitting out for one to three weeks. Five missed games later and panic is growing as the playoffs approach. To many in the media, it sounded after three weeks that the Ravens had such a simple road to the playoffs that they were simply resting Jackson for an eventual playoff run. But starting a quarterback that hasn’t seen the field in five weeks is far less than ideal.

Jackson has done everything that’s been asked of him in rehab sessions, but his knee reportedly still hasn’t quite felt right, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Rapoport asserts that PCL injuries take a bit longer than MCL injuries and that perhaps, due to Jackson’s explosive and agile nature of play, the standards for being back to 100% are different for Lamar than they would be for other quarterbacks.

Regardless, Jackson indicates that he’s confident he’ll be able to return in the playoffs, even if others involved in the recovery aren’t quite as sure. If Jackson isn’t available next week, a familiar refrain continues as Rapoport reports that the belief is that he will be able to go the following week, should Baltimore advance to the divisional round of the playoffs.

Here are a couple of other rumors from around the AFC North concerning the two teams in the division who played their last football of the season against each other today:

  • Browns edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney made headlines when he announced he was “ninety-five percent sure” he wouldn’t return to Cleveland and was sent home by the team. Although a likely change in defensive coordinator could improve his views on returning, Clowney has likely burned those bridges with his reported behavior, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. In the team’s October loss to Baltimore, Clowney reportedly told defensive line coach Chris Kiffin that he was hurting after the first series of the game and, as a result, Kiffin only sent Clowney in on third downs for the rest of the game. It was later revealed that Clowney told Kiffin he was hurt because he was upset that the Browns lined him up on the left side over Ravens star tackle Ronnie Stanley instead of the right side with Morgan Moses. If the anecdote is true, a moved like that, which could be viewed as manipulative or petty, would almost guarantee that Clowney’s future was determined in way back in October.
  • During a Q&A with fans this week, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hit on an intriguing note concerning Steelers third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph. A fan inquired about the chances of Rudolph accepting a deal to be the team’s backup in future seasons. Dulac’s response indicated that Rudolph likely doesn’t have “any interest in staying (in Pittsburgh) after the way he was demoted/treated.” This assertion is nothing new from Dulac who posited early in December that Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky may both find themselves in new homes next year.

Latest On Browns DE Jadeveon Clowney

After being sent home by the Browns earlier this week, Jadeveon Clowney predictably won’t play tomorrow. According to Josina Anderson (on Twitter), Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told his players that Clowney won’t be playing against the Steelers on Sunday.

[RELATED: Browns Send DE Jadeveon Clowney Home]

Clowney was sent home from practice on Friday, a day after he said in an interview that there was a 5 percent chance he’d be back in Cleveland next season. In that same interview with Cleveland.com, Clowney also questioned if the organization believes in his abilities, and he seemed to take a shot at the usage of fellow pass rusher Myles Garrett when he said the Browns were “trying to get somebody into the Hall of Fame when all that matters is winning.”

Garrett subtly responded to Clowney’s assertion, saying the Browns want “volunteers, not hostages.”

“If you feel like no one believes in you here, then go,” Garrett told Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal. “Go where you feel like you’re wanted, you’re loved and you can be appreciated.”

Clowney’s interview with Cleveland.com was on Thursday, but despite his comments, the player was still in the building for a positional meeting on Friday, per Easterling. Defensive line coach Chris Kiffin ended up addressing the comments, at which point Clowney left the building. Kiffin wouldn’t discuss what was said during the meeting, although he opined to Easterling that Clowney “handled it the wrong way as a man.” Clowney also spoke with Stefanski before leaving the facility.

“JD is somebody who I respect,” Stefanski said (via Easterling). “He is a veteran. We have had conversations, yes, but I just don’t think it is fair in this setting [to talk about those conversations]. I understand the question — I do — but I just think it is fair to our team that we keep those conversations internal.”

The former Texans, Seahawks and Titans pass rusher is finishing out a one-year, $10MM deal with the Browns.

Browns Send DE Jadeveon Clowney Home Following Remarks About Usage, Cleveland Future

Jadeveon Clowney has signed one-year contracts with the Browns in each of the past two offseasons, waiting weeks into free agency to do so on each occasion. While a recent report indicated another such scenario should not be ruled out, events of the past two days certainly point Clowney out of town.

The former No. 1 overall pick told cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot there is roughly a 5% chance he returns to the Browns in 2023. These comments do not look to have gone over well with Browns brass. The team sent Clowney home Friday, Cabot reports, adding his status for Sunday’s season finale is uncertain.

Ninety-five percent sure I won’t be back,” Clowney said, via Cabot. “But there’s still that 5%. You never know what can happen. I just feel like I need to be around somebody that believes in me and my ability. [It can’t] just be me believing in myself. I believe in myself more than anybody.”

Clowney, 29, played well opposite Myles Garrett in 2021, staying mostly healthy and registering nine sacks. This season, Clowney has been less productive. He has posted just two sacks in 12 games, totaling just four QB hits — his lowest total since a rookie season that ended after four games. While a 13-game season would represent a fairly decent participation rate for the injury-prone talent, he is displeased with how the Browns have used him. During the 12 games in which he has suited up, Clowney has played 63% of the team’s defensive snaps.

The three-time Pro Bowler said he believes the Browns, at certain points, have opted to showcase Garrett by aligning him opposite beatable tackles. Garrett, the team’s top player who is pushing for another All-Pro nod, has 15 sacks this season and is continuing on a Hall of Fame trajectory. Garrett’s 15 sacks lead the team by a staggering margin; no other Browns performer enters Week 18 with more than three.

You’re all trying to get somebody into the Hall of Fame when all that matters is winning,” Clowney said. “Everybody got here for a reason, and we can all make plays. I know I am. I don’t even think [Garrett] notices [the position switches]. I ain’t trying to say it’s him. I try to get along with everybody I play with. Me and him don’t have a problem. It ain’t his fault, and it’s B.S., and I don’t have time for it.

Clowney’s status as Garrett’s sidekick has been fairly clear since he signed with Cleveland, but his comments regarding the team prioritizing Garrett stats over wins obviously have not gone over well. Clowney pointed toward DC Joe Woods‘ potential departure as a reason he could be back. Woods is on the hot seat, Cabot adds, and said Thursday he is uncertain on whether he will be asked back for a fourth season. The Browns, who have played better defensively as of late, rank 18th in points allowed and 12th in yards yielded.

The former Texans, Seahawks and Titans pass rusher is finishing out a one-year, $10MM deal; he played for $8.25MM in 2021. Clowney, who played on both the fifth-year option and franchise tag, never secured the long-term deal that once seemed certain. Injuries intervened, and he has not quite lived up to expectations despite displaying versatility during his pro career. Interest will come his way again in 2023, but his comments ahead of the Browns’ season finale could throw a wrench in a third Cleveland campaign.

Browns, DE Jadeveon Clowney Interested In Continuing Relationship; Latest On Coaching Staff

Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney joined Cleveland on a one-year contract in 2021, and he signed another one-year deal to remain with the team last offseason. Per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, player and team are interested in continuing their relationship in 2023, and perhaps beyond.

Clowney never landed the massive, $20MM/year contract he was targeting when he hit free agency for the first time several years ago, but after a disappointing 2020 season with the Titans, he appears to have found a home with the Browns. Last year, he posted nine sacks — the second-highest total of his career — and proved to be a worthy complement to superstar DE Myles Garrett. That landed him a contract worth $10MM for 2022.

While he has again missed time due to injury this season and has posted just two sacks in his 11 games, his contributions — as has often been the case with him — go beyond his surface-level stats. Pro Football Focus has assigned him a strong 75.9 overall grade, the 29th-best mark among 121 qualified edge defenders, and it rates him as a quality performer against both the run and pass.

Garrett himself lobbied for a new contract for his running mate last offseason, and his opinion on the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft has not changed. “When [Clowney]’s out there, you can feel his presence,” Garrett said. “He’s setting the edge, he’s making [tackles for loss]. He’s making big plays.” Defensive coordinator Joe Woods added simply, “we need him.”

Clowney said in June that quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s decision to join the Browns impacted his own decision to remain in Cleveland. Due to Watson’s lengthy suspension and Clowney’s recent concussion, the former Texans teammates have shared the field for just three regular season games this year, and Cabot suggests that Watson’s presence could convince Clowney to return. The Browns will have plenty of work to do to reinforce the interior of their defensive line this offseason, so finances will be a factor in determining whether they authorize a third contract for Clowney. Nonetheless, it appears that another deal is very much in play.

Woods, however, may not be so lucky. According to Cabot, the third-year defensive coordinator “will be looked at closely” this offseason, and he could receive his walking papers. The Browns are in the middle of the pack in terms of total defense, which is a steep drop-off from their top-5 showing in 2021, and their run defense has been particularly porous. Cleveland gives up 134.3 rushing yards per game, the eighth-worst figure in the league, and the team ranks 24th in the NFL in defensive DVOA. Their scoring defense (22.9 points allowed per game) ranks 21st.

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is also on shaky ground, per Cabot, though head coach Kevin Stefanski will be retained (despite recent reports that he might be on the hot seat).

Browns To Activate CB Greedy Williams; Denzel Ward Out For Week 6

The Browns will be without their top cornerback on Sunday against the Patriots, but another starter at the position will make his season debut. The team announced on Friday that Greedy Williams will be activated from IR in advance of their Week 6 matchup. 

[RELATED: Browns Designate LB Jones For Return]

Williams missed the beginning of the season due to a hamstring injury. That added further to the ailments he has battled thus far in his career, and left the team shorthanded in the secondary. The former second-rounder missed one-quarter of his rookie campaign in 2019, then the entirety of the following season with a shoulder injury. His size and college pedigree, not to mention Cleveland’s current CB situation, could see him take on the large role he was expected to carry upon entry to the NFL.

“Everything has been crisp and clean,” Williams told reporters on the topic of his return. “Just out there making plays and re-establishing myself. I build that trust back with the team, and they see I’m ready. That’s all that matters.”

No. 1 cover man Denzel Ward has been ruled out with a concussion, after he exited the Browns’ Week 5 loss to the Chargers early. That will leave a significant hole in the team’s defense, as Ward has notched one interception (returned for a touchdown) and six pass breakups this season. Williams could immediately take on his perimeter duties, though the team will no doubt seek to ease him back into action. The Browns will also have Greg Newsome and Martin Emerson available as starters at corner.

They will not, however, have both elements of their starting pass-rush tandem. After returning to game action last week, Jadeveon Clowney will once again be sidelined in Week 6. That will mark the second missed contest this season for the veteran, although Myles Garrett was able to log a usual snap share in his return from a car accident last Sunday.

With a number of moving parts on their defense, the Browns will join New England in trying to improve to .500 on the campaign, while, in Williams’ case, looking to move past a plethora of injury concerns.

Myles Garrett Cited For Failure To Control Vehicle; DE Has Chance To Play In Week 4

Following the car accident the led to a hospitalization, Myles Garrett was back at the Browns’ facility Thursday. Although Garrett did not practice, Browns DC Joe Woods said he has a chance to play this week.

Garrett suffered a shoulder sprain and biceps strain in Monday’s one-car accident, along with a cut on his right hand, and the crash report (via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot) indicates Garrett reported pain in the left side of his face. Both Garrett and the female passenger in his 2021 Porsche, Yiana Tjotjos, were discharged from an Akron hospital Monday night.

Garrett, 26, was cited for failure to control his vehicle, per Cabot, who adds the sixth-year defensive end was driving 65 mph in a 45-mph zone in Sharon Township, Ohio. Garrett’s car hit a ditch and a fire hydrant and flipped “several times.” An observer counted three flips during the crash, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The crash remains under investigation.

This marks another speed-related violation for Garrett, whom WKYC.com notes has been stopped for speeding at least six times since his 2017 Cleveland arrival. Two of those instances involved going over 100 mph; both occurred within a 24-hour period, according to the TV station. Those two stops took place in September 2021 on a highway south of Cleveland. Garrett was also cited for driving 100 mph in a 65-mph zone in May 2020.

Jadeveon Clowney did not practice Wednesday or Thursday due to an ankle injury that kept him out of the Browns’ Week 3 game, though Kevin Stefanski said the former No. 1 overall pick has a chance to play against the Falcons. Clowney and Garrett missing that game would certainly leave Cleveland’s pass rush shorthanded. The Browns have rookie Alex Wright, who started in place of Clowney in Week 3, along with veteran Isaac Rochell and 2022 seventh-round pick Isaiah Thomas at defensive end. The team would undoubtedly make a roster move to add a fourth active-roster D-end in the event Garrett and Clowney are ruled out.

Deshaun Watson’s Decision Swayed Jadeveon Clowney’s Free Agency Choice

The Browns acquiring Deshaun Watson via trade has become one of the most controversial moves in modern NFL history. The talented quarterback’s off-field issues have intensified since he chose Cleveland as his trade destination, but that choice did go a long way toward bringing Myles Garrett‘s 2021 edge-rushing sidekick back.

Jadeveon Clowney said Thursday that Watson’s decision made a significant impact on his own, indicating (via 92.3 The Fan’s Anthony Lima; video link) he would probably have joined the Falcons had Watson selected Atlanta as his next team. Prior to Clowney’s team-hopping run of recent years, he and Watson were Texans teammates from 2017-18.

Clowney and Watson spoke during the QB’s four-team trade sweepstakes, and Jake Trotter of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) Clowney gave Cleveland a strong endorsement. While the $230MM guaranteed the Browns came back to the table with provided the clincher for the embattled passer, Clowney offering Browns praise provides some breadcrumbs ahead of the defensive end’s own decision.

We stayed in touch through that whole thing about coming here,” Clowney said, via Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal. “If he come, then I come. I told him if he goes, I’ll follow him up here. I’ll go back. That’s what it came down to.”

A late-March report indicated Watson spoke with Jarvis Landry and Leonard Fournette about potentially playing together with the Falcons. Browns GM Andrew Berry‘s idea to fully guarantee Watson’s contract changed those plans, and the Falcons — who traded Matt Ryan shortly after Watson was dealt to the Browns — have shifted toward a full-scale rebuild.

Cleveland re-signed Clowney on a one-year, $10MM deal that features $9.25MM fully guaranteed. Garrett lobbied extensively to bring Clowney back. That stands to help the Browns’ defense, though the one-year commitment is interesting in this case. While Clowney’s injury history has damaged his hopes of scoring a long-term deal, Watson factoring into his free agency choice this year may provide a letdown. With the sixth-year veteran QB facing 24 civil lawsuits and counting, a lengthy suspension is expected. This Browns season stands to feature an extensive stretch in which Watson is away from the team, leading to Jacoby Brissett being favored to take many of the team’s snaps this year.

Watson potentially being ticketed to play a full season in 2023 could again influence Clowney’s next commitment. The injury-prone former No. 1 overall pick played 14 games last season, recording nine sacks. Another healthy season would increase Clowney’s market value in 2023, should he not sign a Browns extension before the next league year begins.

Browns To Re-Sign DE Jadeveon Clowney

After weeks of rumors connecting Jadeveon Clowney to a Cleveland return, that agreement has come to pass. Clowney will stay with the Browns on a one-year deal, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports (on Twitter).

The ninth-year defensive end will stay in Cleveland on a deal worth up to $11MM, USA Today’s Josina Anderson tweets. Incentives are included in this total, making it appear similar to the one-year, $8MM pact Clowney inked with the Browns in 2021. Either way, this will ensure Myles Garrett‘s edge-rushing partner will return — something the All-Pro lobbied for — for a second season.

The sides agreed to this deal Wednesday, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, but needed a few more days to finalize it (Twitter link). Clowney should be expected to earn close to that $11MM total, RapSheet adds, noting that the veteran edge defender turned down multiyear deals worth more than $14MM from other teams to stay in Cleveland (Twitter links).

While this does not stop Clowney’s run of one-year agreements, it does ensure he will return to a team for the first time since his Texans rookie deal expired. Since the Texans executed a tag-and-trade sequence with the Seahawks late in the summer of 2019, Clowney has spent the past three seasons in Seattle, Tennessee and Cleveland. The Browns season marked his most successful, even if the team underwhelmed. Clowney’s nine sacks were his most since 2018, his most recent Pro Bowl year. He finished with 32 pressures (tied for 25th in the NFL) alongside Garrett, who tied T.J. Watt for a league-high 52. Garrett’s 16 sacks were also a Browns single-season record.

Cleveland used a third-round pick on defensive end Alex Wright and traded for ex-Patriots edge contributor Chase Winovich. This duo will now be positioned to be rotational rushers behind the Garrett-Clowney tandem. With the Browns having moved on from 2021 defensive tackle starters Malik Jackson and Malik McDowell, Clowney will be positioned to help as an inside rusher as well. That would allow one of the edge backups to join he and Garrett in sub-packages.

This does continue an interesting run of contracts for Clowney, who led off a talented 2014 draft. Injuries have plagued the former South Carolina super-prospect for most of his career, with knee trouble being at the forefront of his health issues. Clowney did play in 14 games last season, however. But the long-term deal packed with guarantees — along the lines of the ones 2014 classmates Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack received years ago — eluded him. Clowney, 29, played out his Texans contract but will finish his 20s on a year-to-year path.

Still, Clowney earned $15MM in 2019 (via the tag), $13MM in 2020 and $8MM (plus $750K in incentives) last year. In addition to the $30MM-plus he made in five years with the Texans, the three-time Pro Bowler has done pretty well for himself — albeit in unorthodox fashion.