The Cleveland Browns beefed up their defensive line rotation on Tuesday, signing veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn to a two-year deal.
The deal with Clayborn, who most recently played for the Atlanta Falcons, is for two years and a reported $5.75 million. It has a max value of $6.75 million in incentives, according to Jake Trotter of ESPN.
Clayborn has 36.5 career sacks, his best year coming in 2017, when he notched 9.5 for the Falcons. Last season he had four sacks and 18 tackles in Atlanta. Clayborn won Super Bowl LIII with the New England Patriots in 2018.
Clayborn, a former first-round pick, is entering his 10th season in the league and has had some injury history. He suffering a pair of season ending injuries during his first four seasons. However, he’s missed just three games over the last two seasons.
Adrian Clayborn a Good Fit for Browns Defensive Line
The Browns needed another veteran pass rusher in the mix after a year where QB pressures were hard to come by outside of Myles Garrett. Despite missing the last six games of the season with an indefinite suspension, Garrett led the Browns with 10 sacks. The next closest was defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, with 5.5.
After a big offseason trade, Olivier Vernon was expected to play a big role opposite Garrett, but was hampered by injury, starting just 10 games.
Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reported earlier this offseason that the Browns would “probably be looking to replace” Vernon, who is the highest paid player on the roster, due $15.5 million next season. But the Browns would suffer no dead cap money if they parted ways with him, making the veteran defensive end disposable if they found a better option.
Vernon had 26 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits last season. He’s missed 15 games over the past three years.
Browns Need Capable Threat Opposite of Myles Garrett
If the Browns keep Vernon, Clayborn could be brought in as a situational pass-rusher, or in a rotation role along with Chad Thomas. But whoever lines up opposite of Garrett has to be viewed as a capable threat to keep offenses from just rolling blocking towards his side. Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods told reporters this offseason that he’d be open to adding more pass-rushers to the fold.
“It never hurts,” Woods said. “We can keep adding as many as they want. I’m cool with that. I think the goal is to add as many talented players to your roster as you can – the right people. We want the right people, good people here that will be good for the organization, good for the team and do it the right way. If they want to add more rushers or more corners, I’m all for it.”
Woods also said that he plans run primarily a 4-3 in Cleveland.
“I think you want to make sure that you’re putting the guys that you have in the right position to make plays,” Woods said. “I know the personnel here is tailored toward a 4-3 scheme, which I’m very comfortable with. We’ll stay with the 4-3 system here and focus on putting the guys in the right positions to make plays.”