MJ Stewart came on strong for the Cleveland Browns late in the season when injuries popped up in the secondary, but it appears that he will not be returning next season.
Stewart — who will be a free agent this offseason — put out an Instagram post that alluded to a departure from Cleveland.
“Man what A time I had in Cleveland!! I want to thank the organization and the city of Cleveland for giving me such a great experience. Year 4 in the books but my story is just beginning!”
With Ronnie Harrison, Grant Delpit and John Johnson III all missing time late in the season, Stewart stepped up, playing nearly every defensive snap from weeks 15-17. He also contributed on special teams.
yo”The only thing that came to my mind was ‘it’s my time now,'” Stewart told reporters during the season. “That’s literally the only thing, and just take advantage of this opportunity. With football, you never know how many opportunities you’re going to get. You don’t know when your next one is coming.”
Versatility Was Key for Stewart With Browns
What made Stewart’s contributions even more impressive was the fact that he played both safety and cornerback, fitting in wherever he was needed.
“I just take pride in being versatile,” Stewart said. “I’ve always kind of been a smart player. It was really mental, just making sure I knew all of the checks and everything like that.”
Stewart finished the season with a career-high 46 tackles. He put together some good tape when called upon so there will likely be suitors for his services, with the 26-year-old showing the upside to compete for a starting role somewhere.
Browns Eyeing New Deal With Jadeveon Clowney
The Browns have some key pieces they’ll look to retain on the defensive side of the ball for next season, including defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney notched seven sacks, good for second on the team, and was highly effective as a run-stopper as well. Clowney is on just a one-year deal he signed this offseason, which went better than expected. He missed just two games — one with an elbow issue and the other due to COVID-19 — establishing himself as a consistent, reliable starter in the NFL once again.
“I would [consider returning], but we have not talked about anything right now. Just finishing the season,” Clowney told reporters on Friday, December 31. “We have a lot of guys on this team who are on a one-year deal, and they might be heading back or do not know what is going to happen in the future. Right now, it is just all about the next game, just trying to get through the season and doing what I can do for the team as of right now.”
If Clowney can stay healthy, he’s worth a large price tag for the Browns. Not only is he a force in his own right but he also optimizes Myles Garrett’s contributions, with teams unable to throw all their blocking at the All-Pro.
“I want him here. I feel like he’s disruptive every time he’s out there, especially when we’re out there together,” Garrett told reporters on Friday, January 7. “The guy’s hitting his stride. I think he has a lot of football left and he doesn’t know that.”