The Cleveland Browns have been courting big-name free agent Jadeveon Clowney for quite some time, but it was reported this week that the former No. 1 overall pick turned down the AFC North squad despite them offering him the most money.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that the Browns have been the most aggressive team financially when it comes to Clowney, who early on in free agency was seeking an annual average value of around $20 million per year. That number reportedly dropped to between $17-18 million per year, per ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
“It’s the richest offer on the table and he hasn’t taken it. So why is that? I don’t know,” insider Adam Schefter said during an appearance on ESPN Cleveland. “Is that not wanting to be in that city? Is that a lack of belief in the organization? I don’t know what it is. But there’s no doubt that Cleveland has offered the most money to date. For whatever reason he has not been willing to take it so far. That doesn’t mean that it couldn’t change, but it hasn’t change just yet.”
Browns Insider: Money ‘Probably Not Right’ for Jadeveon Clowney
Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot contemplated the reasons Clowney would have turned down the Browns in her weekly mailbag column on cleveland.com and said that it may be the money.
Although the Browns offered Clowney the most money, there’s a chance it didn’t meet his standard in pure dollar figures or years and he’s willing to wait it out with the offseason still at a relative halt.
“I have a feeling that the money probably isn’t right yet. Perhaps he’s waiting for the Browns or another team to increase their offer,” Cabot wrote. “The last we heard was that he wanted about $17 million a year. Maybe he’s still hoping a team will come close to that. Sometimes the length of the contract is also an issue. He can either sign a one-year deal and try to hit the market again next offseason when he’s not coming off core muscle surgery, or he can sign a multi-year deal now when many teams are short on cap space.”
Clowney was slowed by a core muscle injury late in the season last year with the Seattle Seahawks. It slowed his production and he played in 13 games — starting 11 — notching just three sacks and 31 tackles. On top of that, team’s have reportedly also been slowed by not being able to get a proper physical for Clowney, who also had knee issues early in his career.
Cabot also makes the point that Clowney shares an agent with Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett. It would benefit both their careers to play alongside each other.
Browns Confident in Defensive Line With or Without Clowney
The Browns would surely welcome the addition of Clowney at the right price. However, the team has expressed confidence in the group they currently have under contract that features Garrett, Olivier Vernon, Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi. The Browns have also added pieces like veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn, as well as Andrew Billings at tackle and third-round pick Jordan Elliott.
” I read the articles, too. I see [Clowney] linked to us, Tennessee and see all these teams,” defensive coordinator Joe Woods said in a recent Zoom call with reporters. “Really, right now, I am really focused on coaching the guys we have.”