The Cleveland Browns are reportedly the latest team to step up as a suitor for free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, following rumors suggesting that the former No. 1 overall draft pick reduced his asking price.
In a tweet posted on Saturday morning, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler offered an update on Clowney’s situation in free agency, noting that the Browns have “shown interest” in the three-time Pro Bowl selection and had “[gotten] closer” to striking a deal than other suitors have so far. While he stressed that neither side was able to agree on terms following the recent discussions, Fowler pointed out that Clowney’s last team, the Seattle Seahawks, has yet to make a satisfactory offer.
According to CBS Sports, the Browns aren’t exactly in dire need of pass-rushing help despite their apparent interest in Clowney. The team still has last year’s starting defensive ends, Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon, and had recently added former Atlanta Falcons end Adrian Clayborn, signing him to a two-year contract as a free agent. But while Garrett had a productive 2019 before his season ended due to a lengthy suspension, Vernon finished last season with only 3.5 sacks in 10 games. As such, the outlet suggested that the Browns could free up $15.5 million in salary-cap space by releasing Vernon.
“The Browns could certainly use an extra pass rusher opposite of Garrett, which is where Clowney comes in,” CBS Sports added.
Aside from the Browns and Seahawks, the Tennessee Titans have also been rumored to be interested in Clowney, who is reportedly expecting a contract worth $17 million to $18 million per year — a decrease from his original $20 million-plus expectation in free agency. However, a separate report from Cleveland.com suggested that the recent talks with the Browns fell through because the team “[didn’t want] to pay” the latter asking price.
"Jadeveon Clowney smells like a free agent bust to me."
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) April 2, 2020
In addition, the New York Giants and New York Jets have been mentioned as another potential suitor for Clowney, though as SNY opined earlier this week, the defensive end’s injury history might make him a huge risk — and possibly too big an investment — for both teams.
In six NFL seasons — including five with the Houston Texans and one with the Seahawks — Clowney has recorded career statistics that include 32 sacks, 80 quarterback hits, and 252 pressures. Despite being highly regarded as one of the better players at his position, the 27-year-old had a down season in 2019 after he was traded to Seattle, as injuries limited him to three sacks, 31 tackles, 13 quarterback hits, and 47 pressures in 13 games.