Browns Rumors: Cleveland on shortlist for J.J. Watt

Browns J.J. Watt (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Browns J.J. Watt (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

J.J. Watt is considering the Browns, according to a report.

The stars have apparently aligned, and that makes the Browns front runners for newly minted free agent J.J. Watt.

The Browns have the cap space, Super Bowl caliber roster and the winning culture sought by three-time defensive player of the year.

It’s for these reasons, Watt is considering the Browns, according to’s Mary Kay Cabot.

National prognosticators listed other teams ahead of the Browns as contenders for Watt’s services, but unless they do some heavy lifting of their cap, the Browns are going to remain serious contenders.

Pittsburgh is about $390 million over the cap and Green Bay still has along way to go ($19 million) to get even. Tennessee, viewed as a favorite because of Watt’s former coach Mike Vrabel, are $3 million under. The Bills and Bears are also in a cap deficit, although just by a few hundred thousand dollars.

The Browns have just north of $21 million to spend, meaning they can overpay if they must. Watt was due to earn $17.5 million before his release. I initially thought he’d sign for no less than $12 to $13 million.

The Browns were willing to pay Jadeveon Clowney that sum last season in a deal, according o Cabot. Thankfully, never came to fruition. However, since Cleveland was willing to pony up that kind offer to a lesser player in Clowney, we’re all ready to hand that money to watt.

The Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski doesn’t see it that way. The NFL writer tweeted that it “Blows my mind” to see people writing that Watt could command $17.5 million at his age (32), in this market.

I came up with $13 million because it’s what Clowney signed for in a one-year deal last season with the Titans. The Browns offered Clowney $15 million on a one-year deal last winter, according to’s Albert Breer.

As for Watt, shaving $5 million off your salary is a significant pay cut. The Browns paid Olivier Vernon $11 million last season, so you know Watt’s number won’t be lower than that.

Next. 3 Browns for PFF's most improved list in 2021. dark

While other teams have moves to make before they can sign Watt, the Browns can act swiftly and decisively. Act quickly, though. Green Bay recently restricted the deal of left tackle David Bakhtiari in what looks to be a move at getting under the cap to sign Watt.