The Browns’ pursuit of Clowney last offseason is well-documented, with Cleveland reportedly offering him a three-year, $57 million deal — the longest and most lucrative contract he had on the table. Instead, Clowney bet on himself, signing on a one-year deal with Tennessee, which didn’t go as planned.
Clowney missed eight games with a knee injury, needing surgery to repair his left meniscus. Rather than putting up some big numbers to set up a massive free-agent deal, Clowney notched 19 tackles — four for a loss — and no sacks in a very down year.
The Browns are now getting a second chance when it comes to their courtship of Clowney and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said there’s “mutual interest” between the sides.
“The Browns wanted to sit with him, look him in the eye, talk to him and get to know him as a person. They wanted to see if this is something they wanted to do,” Rapoport said on NFL Network. “That happened yesterday and he has since gone home. There is mutual interest but we’ll see if the two sides end up doing anything. The fact that Clowney took his first free-agent visit — I believe ever — to Cleveland, puts the Browns in a very good position to sign him down the road.”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 25, 2021
Browns Could Ink Clowney for Bargain Bin Price
The Browns have been in the market for a top-tier pass-rusher to play opposite of All-Pro Myles Garrett, but did not get too eager and overspend in the race for names like Carl Lawson, Bud Dupree or Trey Hendrickson.
The Browns settled on former first-round pick Takk McKinley, who has already had some highs and lows to his NFL career. He collected 13 of his 17.5 career sacks in his first two years in the league but was cut by Atlanta last November after a social media tirade. He wasn’t able to get on the field after that, signing with the Bengals, 49ers and Raiders, but never getting healthy enough to suit up.
The Browns could decide to make McKinley the full-time starter opposite of Garrett if he can stay healthy, or could choose to sign someone like Clowney — who also has health questions — and make it pass-rush by committee.
“We view Takk as a young edge player with a very high motor. He’s got speed, he has power and he has quickness. He really plays with his hair on fire,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry told reporters on Thursday. “He had a really strong start to his career, and I know the past couple years he’s dealt with a few injuries, but we think his playing style and skillset marries really nicely with what we look for out of our defensive ends in this system, and he’s a guy we think really has a ton of upside and fits nicely with what we want to do on the defensive line.”
Clowney’s currently has a market value is $6.5 million per season, per Spotrac.
Myles Garrett Can Boost Jadeveon Clowney’s Production
If Clowney is looking to prove he still has some gas in the tank, playing in Cleveland would be ideal, seeing that Garrett draws a massive amount of attention.
Garrett inked a massive extension last offseason and proved to be worth every penny. He collected 12 sacks, two pass deflections and four forced fumbles in 14 games, despite being one of the most double-teamed pass-rushers in the league.
The Browns admitted that the spot opposite Garrett — which free agent Olivier Vernon previously occupied — is very important going forward.
“I think that it is great to have to two bookends along the defensive line – very few teams do,” Berry said.