Jadeveon Clowney (DE)
Jadeveon Clowney has never lived up to his billing as the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. His three Pro Bowl appearances are wholly undeserved and for a man who’s so vaunted for his talent, has never recorded double-digit sacks. All that despite playing next to the best defensive player of his generation; J.J. Watt.
So Clowney should not be a talent that anyone breaks the bank for, including the Browns. He’s not the type of player that can be the best on the defensive line. He needs a Batman to take pressure off of him, and allow him to work one-on-one with the opposing tackle. If he’s available for a reasonable price, he’s the perfect compliment for Myles Garrett. In the off chance that Garrett doesn’t come back this season or misses a good chunk of time, Clowney will at least give the Browns some help in the pass rush department.
Clowney plays the run well, which is something that shouldn’t be ignored. The defensive line, even with Garrett, was poor at getting penetration on passes, and even worse on the run. An overhaul of the interior is in order as well, but the edge needs to be shored up too. The available interior defensive linemen don’t improve the Browns depth at that position the way Clowney does for the defensive ends. Both are positions of need but if you’re going to drop money of this magnitude to sign someone then it helps that they provide a significant upgrade, not just a marginal.
The free agents after Clowney at defensive end aren’t great for the money they’ll be demanding. You’d be better off re-acquiring Carl Nassib than breaking the bank for Jason Pierre-Paul. Nassib can play the run well from the line, and lineup at outside linebacker in a 3-4, should the team convert defenses. So for big defensive end deals, it’s Clowney or no one. The goal for the defense should be acquiring Clowney.