The Cleveland Browns are unlikely to retain Jadeveon Clowney.
Jadeveon Clowney is unlikely to return to the Cleveland Browns for the 2022 season, according to Brad Stainbrook of The OBR. Stainbrook is reporting that Clowney is “settling affairs” in Cleveland this week, and there are no plans on the table to bring back the former No. 1 overall pick. Clowney signed a relatively cheap deal for one year and used his season in Cleveland to rebuild his name value.
The move worked for both sides, the Browns had a successful defense and Clowney made himself a guy who was going to get paid big bucks.
Clowney has always said that his future was always going to be money-driven, so this was always a likelihood. With so many teams like the Bears, Cowboys, and others cutting high-priced talent due to cap issues, it’s important to look at Clowney’s decision as likely best for all parties involved.
The Browns don’t have cap issues and are likely to free up $17 million soon when they release Jarvis Landry. Teams like the Packers and Cowboys are stuck deciding which one of their key, needed pieces they’re going to cut bait because they didn’t take care of their cap correctly.
If the Browns gave Clowney a new deal, it’d likely be a massive one, and knowing Clowney’s inconsistent play throughout his career, would’ve been too much for his level of play. Then the impact of such a deal would’ve hampered the Browns’ ability to continually reshape their roster as needed.
It may suck, but letting Clowney walk is what’s in the best interest of the team’s long-term financial health.
The Cleveland Browns need to invest in a pass-rusher in the draft
Truthfully, Chris Godwin was the only free agent receiver that would’ve had me being ok with not drafting one in the first round. He’s off the board, and the likelihood of getting a true number one now is very unlikely. There are still some options, Amari Cooper, Randall Copp, but those aren’t your aces. Those are your second-receiver options. So the Browns should absolutely stay the course and draft a receiver in the first round.
After that? The team needs a pass rusher, whether that’s a defensive end or a linebacker is up to the team, but they need someone who can get after the quarterback. This actually might be the perfect draft to try and drake back into the first round even. Get a receiver at No. 13, and then move up from the second round to get a pass-rusher. That is, as long as the price of the trade isn’t too high.
The Browns can’t rely on free agency, because honestly, there may not be the “right guy” this year. They can’t keep investing in older, declining free agents, and names like Trey Hendrickson aren’t likely to be available this year. We’re talking young, up-side-driven guys who have six or so years of prime football left.
If there are no young, vital, free-agent defensive ends worth putting down a four-year contract on, then the Browns need to invest via the draft, and considering the contract situation with the team as it stands right now, the Browns should avoid dropping $10+ on an aging defensive end.