The Cleveland Browns are entering the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Browns have shown interest in Clowney and some people around the league believe Cleveland got closer with Clowney than the other suitors. Whether this gives Cleveland the inside track to land Clowney remains to be seen, but the Browns have certainly checked in on the defensive end’s asking price.
Cleveland already has Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon at defensive end and signed Adrian Clayborn to a two-year contract earlier in the week, so the Browns aren’t needy of pass rushers. Garrett had 10 sacks and 39 pressures before serving his six-game suspension that ended his 2019 season, but Vernon had just 3.5 sacks in 25 pressures in 10 games and can be cut to create $15.5 million in cap space. The Browns could certainly use an extra pass rusher opposite of Garrett, which is where Clowney comes in.
Clowney has 32 sacks in six NFL seasons with 80 quarterback hits, 252 pressures and three Pro Bowl appearances. He has also graded out exceptionally well via Pro Football Focus, specifically over the past two seasons. He finished with 31 tackles, three sacks, four forced fumbles, 13 quarterback hits and 47 pressures in 13 games, but was hampered for the majority of the second half of the season with a core muscle injury, explaining why the sack numbers are down. Clowney had surgery on the core muscle injury, which shouldn’t affect him for the 2020 season.
Cleveland has the most cap space in the NFL at $43 million and can create much more by parting ways with Vernon, so signing Clowney to a massive deal won’t be an issue. The Browns certainly have the finances to give Clowney want he wants and emerge as the winner of the sweepstakes.