The Cleveland Browns are making a push to bring back fan-favorite wide receiver Jarvis Landry after trading for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The Browns cleared around $15 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of newly-acquired receiver Amari Cooper and are targeting to use that flexibility to bring back both Landry and pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com
The Browns parted ways with Landry earlier this offseason, a move that saved the team $15 million on the salary cap. While they would have loved to keep him on board, it just didn’t make sense monetarily for where the team was at the time.
Cabot reported, “Landry wanted nothing more than to win a Super Bowl [in Cleveland], and he’s motivated to return now that Deshaun Watson and Cooper are here and the Browns have a bona fide chance.”
There’s also internal support to bring Landry back, with cornerback Greg Newsome II tweeting about the move.
The Browns’ title odds jumped from +4,000 to +1,400 following the trade for Watson.
Browns Praised Landry for Contributions to Franchise
While the Browns ended up releasing Landry, the sides ended their relationship respectfully, with the team acknowledging what the five-time Pro Bowler brought to the table following a trade to Cleveland in 2018.
“The trade for Jarvis Landry in 2018 was a key moment for our organization,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in a statement following the transaction. “Jarvis’ on-field production and fiery competitiveness speaks for itself, but his leadership and team-oriented attitude impacted our culture in a way that will last in time even beyond his release. These decisions are always difficult, but we wish Jarvis well and we look forward to the day when he returns as a storied Browns alumnus.”
Cabot noted the Browns are trying to get a deal done with both Landry and Clowney soon. The team showing the most interest in signing Landry was the Atlanta Falcons, who looked like the frontrunner for Watson before he decided instead to go to the Browns.
Landry Expressed Interest in Returning to Browns
Prior to the Browns releasing Landry and changing up their quarterback situation, he expressed an interest in returning to Cleveland in a series of tweets discussing his future.
“I put the ball in CLE court by telling them I would like to stay but if not then I’m confident enough in myself to be a better healthy me this year and moving forward to helping do my part in winning a championship elsewhere,” Landry tweeted.
Landry also wanted to discuss the narrative that he’s injury-prone, something he took exception to considering his history as an iron-man in the league, not missing a game over his first six seasons in the league. Landry suffered a knee injury early on that landed him on IR, which he said he returned early from to help the team win.
“Reality behind all this is I came back to play in the best shape of my life, I got hurt week 2 with a high grade MCL Sprain, Partial quad tear and bone bruise,’’ he said in a series of tweets posted to his account on Tuesday morning. “Then came back way to early and ended up staying hurt the entire season. You never heard me mention anything about it. … Before this year I missed 0 games. So push y’all narrative, it’s noted.”
If Landry returns he’d play a key role out of the slot alongside Anthony Schwartz, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Cooper.