The Browns have finally signed Jadeveon Clowney after nearly two offseasons of pursuit. The former No. 1 overall pick from the 2014 NFL Draft is going to play opposite of Myles Garrett, and the hope is that Clowney can at least play to his former Pro Bowl-form, or even surpass it by finally becoming a defensive end with a double-digit sack season.
Clowney’s impact on the team is going to be obvious, but the direction he’s going to force the franchise into is going to be noticeable as well. There’s already talk of deals being restructured to help fit Clowney in contract-wise, while still keeping cap flexibility.
With the Browns tied to trades for a cornerback and talks of the Browns meeting with West Virginia defensive tackle Darius Stills, there’s no denying that Clowney’s signing has dramatically changed expectations.
Three things that Clowney’s signing has caused
The expectations during the draft
The Browns are probably not going to be drafting a defensive end anymore. The team has Jadeveon Clowney, Myles Garrett, Takk McKinley and as of Thursday, have officially signed Porter Gustin to a new deal. The team needs help elsewhere and spending a first-round pick on an end who won’t play much isn’t smart. Expect one to go in the third round at the earliest. The safest bet, as of right now, is a defensive tackle.
No more big moves, for now
The Browns are now seriously close to being in cap trouble if they don’t make some moves. Talks of Sheldon Richardson getting his contract re-worked exist, and the Browns may finally have to bite the bullet on the Odell Beckham Jr. situation and trade him in order to gain cap flexibility. There’s always the possibility that they finally trade David Njoku to get relief. Not to mention they may also need to talk to Jarvis Landry about re-working his deal, or possibly cutting/trading another player we aren’t even thinking about.
The Browns went into last year with no real expectations for the defense to be good. They let a bunch of starters walk, brought in a new scheme, and didn’t make one major move all offseason to get the squad better. That’s not the case this year, with three new starters coming in, not to mention the backups signed as well. This is not going to be the same team as last year and the expectations for them as a squad to do more and be better are going to be there. No more excuses.