Browns Make Final Call on Signing Controversial Defender

Ndamukong Suh

Getty Images Free agent DT Ndamukong Suh celebrates a touchdown.

The Cleveland Browns have fallen back in their pursuit of veteran defender Ndamukong Suh, per a new report.

The Browns were rumored to be courting the controversial defensive tackle but are no longer looking at the 35-year-old as an option, per Brad Stainbrook of the Orange and Brown Report.

“Bucs and Raiders still in on DT Ndamukong Suh,” Stainbrook tweeted. “Talks are ongoing with Las Vegas, while Tampa Bay will let all the options die down first. Browns have backed off.”

The Bucs agreed to a deal with veteran Akiem Hicks on Tuesday, so they’re unlikely to bring back Suh.

The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft spent the last three seasons in Tampa Bay, playing an integral role on the defensive line. He started 49 contests for the Bucs over that span — not missing a game — totaling 112 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks.

Earlier this offseason, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell said he believes Suh could provide a reliable veteran presence in the middle of their line alongside defensive end Myles Garrett.

“Suh might not be the two-way force we saw during his time with the Lions, and the Bucs were careful to reduce his snap rate down from 77% in 2019 to 63% this past season, but he’s still a reliable interior disruptor,” Barnwell wrote in a story published May 12. “The man just doesn’t get hurt; Suh hasn’t missed a single game due to injury as a pro across 12 campaigns.”

Browns Have Holes to Fill at Defensive Tackle

Neither of the team’s starters from last season are projected to return to Cleveland. Veteran Malik Jackson, 32, was on a one-year deal and didn’t have an overly impressive season in 2021 and Malik McDowell, who started at the other defensive tackle spot, was arrested in January after a bizarre naked encounter with police. He’s not expected back on the Browns.

The Browns depth chart currently has free agent signing Taven Bryan and 2020 third-round pick Jordan Elliott penciled in as the starters.

Rookie Perrion Winfrey has also made an early impact with his attitude and is expected to play at least a rotational role on the line. And it’s clear that he’s enjoyed his stay with the Browns so far.

“Practice every day with a bunch of greats,” Winfrey tweeted on May 25. “It’s no way I’m not NEXT.”

He’s also enjoyed being under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Joe Woods.

“A defensive coordinator that knows what he talking about. I love it here,” Winfrey tweeted on May 28.

Browns Bolster Line With Addition of Jadeveon Clowney

The Browns reached a deal to bring back defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, giving Myles Garrett a high-level pass-rusher partner. His nine sacks were second on the Browns last season behind only Garrett. It was also his most since 2018, which was in part because he was able to stay healthy.

“I just want to chase that Super Bowl,” Clowney told Nathan Zegura on Best Podcast Available. “We had a great defense last year. We went out and got some more key players on offense and defense, and I feel like we’ve got a shot.”

On the other end, Garrett will be looking to build off a franchise-record 16 sacks last season.

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